Elkhart-area man gets life without parole in teen’s slaying

A man convicted of murder for stabbing a 17-year-old girl and mutilating her body has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors say Michael Shoun, 28, killed Tiana Alter at his home near Elkhart in November 2013. The two were high on synthetic marijuana at the time, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vicki Becker said. A jury convicted Shoun on Dec. 2, and recommended the sentence that a judge imposed on Thursday.

Alter's mother, Nellie Stacker, said on the witness stand Thursday that her daughter was "perfect" and that nothing ever upset ever. She said her daughter was her "best friend," and that she'll never be the same.

"My heart hurts. I can't even explain it," Stacker said. "I'm still in denial, I can't accept it. I haven't even mourned her yet."

Shoun declined to speak Thursday when given a chance to do so by the judge.

In seeking an enhanced sentence for Shoun, prosecutors cited the mutilation of Alter's body and that he was under the custody of the Indiana Department of Correction at the time of her death.

Becker said synthetic marijuana is a problem in Elkhart County and that the prosecutor's office and police have cracked down on several stores in the city of Elkhart that sold synthetic marijuana.

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