ABILENE, Texas — UPDATE (1/27/2023): SENTENCED: Johnnie Miller has been sentenced to 14 years with no fine for the 2018 murder of Aaron Howard.
After 5 long days, that trial is officially over and that jury that found Johnnie Miller guilty of murder officially sentenced him to those 14 years.
Today’s events in the courtroom included emotional testimony from the victim Aaron Howards’ fiancée at the time as well as his son.
We were able to get reaction from both legal teams about how they felt about the final result of this trial.
Chief Prosecutor Dan Joiner said, “I think relief isn’t the right word. I think there was some sense of closure. They wanted Johnnie Miller to be held accountable and not that he is, I think that they feel a little more at ease and a little more at peace than they did before this week started.”
While Defense attorney Justin Sparks was focused on Michael Miller’s verdict, “We’re extremely excited for Michael Miller and the not guilty verdict. We feel like the jury got it right. They heard all the evidence, not just a two-minute clip, they had heard everything that previously happened that day and the months before and they got it right that he’s not guilty.”
The week-long trial saw 18 total witnesses between the two sides, hours of interview video as well as cell phone footage of the shooting.
According to the Chief Prosecutor Dan Joiner, that video was a key factor of their argument and helped secure at least one guilty verdict, “It was helpful because it showed the interaction between Aaron Howard and Johnnie Miller. Without that video we only have people’s recollection and perceptions but that was the actual interaction and I believe that it played a huge part in the guilty verdict for Johnny Miller.”
Friday was the quickest day throughout the trial as sentencing arguments only took about 45 minutes before the jury was sent to deliberation. That deliberation lasted about 3 hours before they gave Johnnie Miller that 14 year sentence, which both sides has differing opinions on,
Sparks told us that, “Of course we feel, if he is guilty that five is the appropriate number”
While Joiner explained their reason behind why they were satisfied with the sentence, “It’s not lost on us that Johnnie miller is 72 years old and so I think the jury took that into consideration as well. So, 14 years for someone at his age is a pretty stiff sentence. What’s important to us is that we wanted justice for Aaron Howard and we believe this was justice.”
Although this trial has officially ended, Johnnie Miller is expected to appeal. It is unclear when that appeal will happen.
UPDATE (1/27/2023): The jury has started deliberating sentencing for Johnnie Miller.
Johnnie and Michael Miller went to trial this week for the shooting death of Aaron Howard on September 1st of 2018.
The incident was caught on camera by Howard's fiancée on cell phone video.
The argument between the neighbors apparently started over a mattress --- in an alley --- behind Don Juan Street.
On Thursday, Michael Miller was found not guilty, and Johnnie Miller was found guilty in the murder case.
Sentencing is expected to start Friday morning.
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