A Central Florida convicted cop killer is sentenced to die. A jury in Osceola County yesterday unanimously recommended that 20-year-Marine veteran Everett Miller get the death sentence for killing two Kissimmee police officers two years ago.
The 12-member jury deliberated for five-and-a-half hours at the Osceola County Courthouse before deciding unanimously the Marine Corps veteran should be sentenced to death for fatally shooting 36 year old Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and 26 Officer Matthew Baxter. The same jury found Miller, 48, guilty of first-degree murder on Sept. 11 in the 2017 killings.
Defense attorney Roseanne Eckert told jurors Miller would die in prison for killing Baxter and Howard regardless of their vote — but the jury would decide if it’s by natural causes or at the hands of the state.
“I’m going to ask you to consider how Master Sgt. Miller, the proud decorated Marine, turned into this broken, barefooted mentally ill man,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with considering mercy and redemption.” in the months before the killings, lost his job at a packaging company, became homeless and broke up with his girlfriend. She said the former Marine suffered from depression and PTSD.
Jurors found the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt four aggravating factors sufficient to warrant death. But the jury did not find Miller’s defense attorneys proved any mitigating factors that supported a sentence of life imprisonment, including circumstances surrounding his life and military service. But the prosecution said Miller had family members who cared about him during this period and received treatment from the VA, but he missed appointments and refused to take medication.
During closing arguments at the Osceola County Courthouse, Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams said the Marine Corps veteran was angry about the course of his life and adopted extremist anti-government beliefs, which led to him blaming law enforcement officers.
Williams said he was surprised the jury found no mitigating factors were proven because during closing arguments, he conceded Miller had a successful career in the Marine Corps.
The defense attorney for 48-year-old Miller were asking for life in prison saying Miller was a loving father and son with an exceptional military career who was under extreme emotional distress that caused him to be manic and paranoid.
“There’s no doubt that Glenn Miller was out of his mind that summer,” she said.
Be sure to check out Karen’s Full Rigor podcast coming up on Monday. It revisits the slaying of Palm Beach County Deputy Sgt. Rocky Hunt who was the last Palm Beach County officer shot in the line of duty. His killer, Nicholas Hardy, turned the officers gun on himself and survived. He was sentenced to death, just like Everett Miller, but his sentence was commuted to life.