MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – The man who was found guilty of killing 14-year-old April Millsap, of Armada, lost his appeal of the ruling, the Michigan Court of Appeals announced Friday.
James VanCallis was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder, felony murder, kidnapping and attempted criminal sexual assault. He was sentenced to life without parole.
He filed an appeal, claiming his defense was ineffective, but the Court of Appeals found his counsel's strategy was sound.
Millsap was walking her dog on the Macomb Orchard Trail in July 2014 when she was killed. Her body was found a few feet off the trail by a passerby.
Special section: The April Millsap murder case
"Count 1, first-degree premeditated murder, we find the defendant guilty; Count 2, first-degree felony murder, we find the defendant guilty; Count 3, kidnapping, we find the defendant guilty; Count 4, assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, we find the defendant guilty," the jury foreman read.
There were tears before applause erupted in the courtroom. VanCallis stood quietly without emotion.
"There is relief," said Karyn Risch, a family friend. "But there is no closure to the wounds this murder has opened."
Watch the verdict: James VanCallis guilty verdict