Jury out on alleged cop killer Everett Miller

Closing arguments in the trial of Everett Miller were presented Tuesday at the Osceola County Courthouse. 

The 47-year-old retired Marine is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Kissimmee Police Department Officer Matthew Baker and Sgt. Sam Howard. 

The prosecution rested its case Monday after calling several witnesses to the stand including Lewis Peterson, an inmate who met Miller while they were both in the medical bay at the Osceola County jail. 

“I will not be testifying, your honor,” Miller told Ninth Circuit Court Judge Greg Tynan Tuesday morning. 

The judge then ordered Osceola County Sheriff’s Office deputies to pick up Shavon Sutton, Miller’s sister, to testify on his behalf later in the day. She was the only witness for the defense, which originally had planned to call four witnesses. 

Miller told the judge that at least one defense witness in the case had been unduly pressured by prosecutors and was afraid of “repercussions by the Kissimmee Police Department” if he testified. 

Sutton testified that her brother’s behavior changed dramatically after he retired from the Marine Corps in 2010. After losing a job, breaking up with a girlfriend and becoming homeless, Miller began acting peculiar, she told the court. 

Miller had been detained and held for psychiatric evaluation under Florida’s Baker Act just three weeks before he killed Baxter and Howard on Aug. 18, 2017.

The officers and Miller were talking near Palmway and Cypress streets at about 9:30 p.m., when the shooting happened. Miller allegedly shot the officers in quick succession then went to a nearby bar where he was arrested.

Baxter, a three-year veteran and father of four, died that night. He was 27. Howard, a 10-year veteran, and father of one, died the following day. He was 36. 

A bystander filmed a short part of the encounter between Miller and Baxter just before the shooting.

“I don’t need to show you my license, I’m not driving,” Miller says to Baxter.

“Come over here,” Baxter replies.

“I’m not coming to you, you’re coming to me,” Miller says, leaning against a vehicle.

The person filming the video then turns off the camera and walks away, according to police reports. Within minutes, neighbors called 911 to report shots fired.