COQUILLE — James Jay Thomasson, 29, was sentenced to life in prison Monday in Coos County Circuit Court, with the possibility of parole after 25 years, after he pleaded guilty to the stabbing murder of his grandfather, Elmer Lloyd Dennis, 80, last December.

"Mr. Thomasson admitted in court today that he intentionally caused the death of his grandfather," said Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier.

Frasier said Dennis died after he was stabbed multiple times by Thomasson, nearly decapitating him, Frasier told Circuit Court Presiding Judge Martin Stone in court on Monday. Thomasson has had recurring mental problems, according to Frasier, but that was not considered in the sentencing because Thomasson was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the murder.

Thomasson was arrested the afternoon of Dec. 10, 2017, in connection with the brutal murder of Dennis at a residence located in the 1200 block of Minnesota Ave. in the Englewood area of Coos Bay. 

Thomasson did not comply with officers' requests to come out from under the deck of the residence resulting in officers having to deploy a Taser to gain his compliance. Thomasson was eventually transported to Bay Area Hospital for unknown injuries. Thomasson was admitted as a patient at the hospital for observation and police posted a watch over Thomasson at the hospital.

The Coos County Major Crimes Task Force investigated the case and officers from the Coos Bay Police Department, Oregon State Police, North Bend Police Department, Coquille Tribal Police, the Medical Examiner's Office and the District Attorney's Office responded to assist with the investigation. The Coos Bay Police lead the investigation.

In 2010, Thomasson's older brother pleaded no contest to slashing the throat of an auctioneer in Marion County.

Jeremiah D. Thomasson was indicted on 11 separate charges for the June 16, 2009, incident. In addition to attempted murder, he was indicted on one count first-degree assault, five counts unlawful use of a weapon and four counts of menacing.

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