Elias Wanatee, of Sioux City, will serve five decades in prison after a judge sentenced him for a 2016 murder.
After a Woodbury County judge denied Wanatee's request for a new trial, Thursday, he sentenced Wanatee to 50 years in prison. Wanatee will be eligible for parole after he serves a minimum of 35 years.
Wanatee was convicted of second-degree murder last month in the death of 50-year-old Vernon Mace. Mace was stabbed to death in Sioux City in February of last year.
Wanatee's first murder trial in Sioux City last fall ended with a hung jury. His retrial was moved to Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County on a change of venue.
Mace's brother-in-law and daughter spoke to Wanatee during victim impact statements inside the courtroom. "You might sit there and think, 'whatever,' but this really affected a lot of people in a lot of different ways that you have no idea," said Vernon Mace's daughter, Verna Hoffman. "And you get to live. You get to live and he doesn't." "I can't see how a person that breathes, bleeds, thinks, could sit back in the dark and stalk another life, but yet carry through in such a malicious and vicious act," said Mace's brother-in-law, Nick Scurra. "I hope that sticks with you for the remaining time of your life."
Mace leaves behind five children and more grandchildren.
Wanatee won't be eligible for parole until he is 82-years-old.
Elias Wanatee sentenced to 50 years in prison. Eligible for parole after 35 years served.