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Father, son who killed neighbor over trash re-arrested, bond increased to $250,000

The father and son who killed their neighbor in a fight over trash have been re-arrested after a judge increased their bond to $250,000.

"Both John and Michael Miller’s bonds were originally set at $25,000 each by a Justice of the Peace," said Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge. "They then bonded out immediately, which was a great concern to both myself and our community. Taylor County District Attorney, Jim Hicks, filed a Motion of Insufficiency of Bond this afternoon to address the Department and public’s concern."

That motion was filed two days after KTXS aired video of the Millers shooting Aaron Howard on Sept. 1 during what court documents call "an argument about the placement of a box mattress."

When Howard, who was about 7-feet away, raised a baseball bat, John Miller fired two shots, according to police.

Howard then threw the bat at John Miller.

Michael Miller then shot Howard, who was now unarmed, with a shotgun. John Miller then shot him two more times.

Howard died at Hendrick Medical Center.

The cause of death was a "gunshot wound of the chest and shotgun wound of the chest."

Howard was also shot in the fright forearm.


Full Statement

The Abilene Police Department is conducting a murder investigation of Aaron Howard (age 37). Howard was allegedly shot and killed by suspects, John Miller (age 67) and his son, Michael Miller (age 31). The two parties were in a dispute over refuse in an alley shared by the two families. The incident was recorded via a cellphone by Howard’s girlfriend, Kara Box. She subsequently distributed the video publicly. The video was not released by the Department.

Both John and Michael Miller’s bonds were originally set at $25,000 each by a Justice of the Peace. They then bonded out immediately, which was a great concern to both myself and our community. Taylor County District Attorney, Jim Hicks, filed a Motion of Insufficiency of Bond this afternoon to address the Department and public’s concern based upon the following information:

On September 1, 2018, the Abilene Police Department began investigating a shooting in the alley behind the 4300 block of Don Juan. It was determined that John Miller and Michael Miller discharged firearms at Aaron Howard after engaging in an argument about the placement of a box spring in the alley, killing him. When the first shots were fired, Aaron had a bat in his hand and was approximately seven feet from John Miller, who was the closest to him. When Michael Miller discharged his shotgun and John Miller fired the final two rounds from his pistol, Aaron Howard was unarmed. Both the Millers admitted to shooting Howard, who died after being transported to Hendrick Medical Center. Aaron Howard’s wife/girlfriend, Kara Box, recorded the incident on her cellphone and Detective Jordan Brown reviewed this video. He believes it is apparent from the video, combined with the interviews of the Millers, that they were tired of their neighbor, Aaron Howard, acting out and yelling and threatening them verbally. They brought out firearms during this argument and both Millers stood in the alley as Aaron Howard got more and more upset. As soon as he raised the bat while approximately seven or more feet away from John, John shot him.

John and Michael Miller were taken into custody without incident this afternoon (9/21/18) after the 42nd District Court reviewed the initial bonds and raised them to $250,000 each.

Our Department has received numerous requests for information regarding this shooting. We are actively working this investigation which must be protected through prosecution, reference Tex. Gov’t Code 552.108, therefore we are only releasing the attached information and the suspect’s mug shots.

In the State of Texas, the Texas Public Information Act (the “Act”) gives the public the right to request access to government information. Although the Act makes most government information available to the public, some exceptions exist. One of these exceptions prevents the disclosure of law enforcement records if the release of the information would interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime.. Information relating to a pending criminal investigation or prosecution is one example of information that is excepted under sections 552.108(a)(1) and 552.108(b)(1) because release of such information would presumptively interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime. (See Houston Chronicle Publ’g Co. v. City of Houston, 531 S.W.2d 177, 184-85 (Tex. Civ. App.—Houston [14th Dist.]); see also Tex. Atty Gen. Open Rec. Ltr No. 2016-20196).)

Respectfully,

Chief Stan Standridge

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