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Judge: Miller competent to stand trail in murder of cops

Posted on Friday, September 22, 2017 at 2:49 pm

5th District State Attorney to seek death penalty

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Greg Tynan ruled Friday that Everett Glenn Miller, the man accused of shooting two Kissimmee Police Department officers to death the night of Aug. 18, is competent to stand trial in the murders, leaning on the report of a competency expert.

The day prior, the office of Fifth District State Attorney Brad King filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in the murders of Officer Matthew Baxter and Sergeant Sam Howard. King has assigned Assistant State Attorneys Ryan Williams, Gabriella Bonilla, Pam Smith and Kelsey Sander to the case.

Miller

The case is in the Fifth District because Gov. Rick Scott took all potential death penalty cases away from Ninth District State Attorney Aramis Ayala, after announcing in March she would not be seeking the death penalty in any case.

According to court records, after Miller’s defense filed a competency issue on Aug, 24, days after the shooting and his arrest, Dr. Robert Janner met with Miller at the Osceola County Jail on Aug. 29, and filed a report on Sept. 15. With Miller, 45, in attendance in court Friday, Tynan read pieces of the report, noting Janner detected no cognative diseases.

“While Mr. Miller may have mental illness, it does not render him incompetent to proceed in the legal process,” Tynan read from the report.

With that in mind, the judge found Miller competent to stand trial, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Jan. 8, 2018.

Sadia Baxter, the slain officer’s widow who is also in law enforcement and was sworn in as an FDLE special agent shortly after the killings, also attended Friday’s hearing. She left without speaking to reporters.

“It’s still very emotional and while she’d like to be able to, it’s still too raw to speak,” said FDLE spokesperson Angela Starke, who also attended Friday to support Ms. Baxter. “She wants the community to know she senses their prayers, and asks they continue to pray for her and their daughters.”

Police say Miller gunned down Baxter, 27, and Howard, 38, around 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 near the intersection of Palmway and Cypress Streets in Kissimmee, not far from U.S. Highway 192 and Orange Blossom Trail. He was apprehended about two hours later by four Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies at Roscoe’s Bar and Package on Orange Blossom Trail, just blocks from where the shooting occurred.

Miller faces two first-degree murder charges, along with resisting without violence and carrying a firearm where prohibited by law.