Friday, June 30, 2000

Gunman gets five years




By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — After listening to a woman's account of being shot three times, a Butler County judge sentenced the gunman to five years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

        “There is nothing that excused your conduct,” Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth told Timothy R. Miller. “You're lucky that no one was hurt worse or killed.”

        Mr. Miller had pleaded guilty to attempted murder and felonious assault. He could have received up to 19 years in prison.

        Drema Young, the shooting victim, said the shootings were the culmination of a running argument.

        Ms. Young, 40, said it began when she told Mr. Miller it was illegal for him to take an alcoholic beverage out of the Middletown bar where she works.

        She said that led to angry words between the two. She said he and some of his family members later made harassing telephone calls to her at the bar.

        She said when she discov ered that her 18-year-old daughter, Crystal Martin, had gone to Mr. Miller's house to try to calm down the family, she feared for her daughter's safety and went to the house with a couple of friends.

        Ms. Young said that near his front gate, Mr. Miller fired one shot into the air and then shot at her and others. “He shot me in the arm and said, "You're going down,'” she told Judge Spaeth. “When I fell down, he said, "You're going to die.'”

        Ms. Young was also shot in the abdomen and the leg, and spent four days in a hospital. Another woman, Tamara Powers, 18, shot in the back, was treated at a hospital.

        Ms. Young said the shooting has caused her long-term physical problems and psychological scars.

        “It's made me real skittish,” she said. “If a dog barks, I jump. I don't sleep well at night.”

        Mr. Miller said he was sorry for what he did, but that he didn't shoot until Ms. Young and the others didn't leave when he asked them.

        “I was scared for my wife and my kids,” he said. “I'm sorry things turned out the way they did.”

        His wife and three children were in court.

        Mr. Miller admitted to Judge Spaeth that he has previous convictions of domestic violence, receiving stolen property and theft.

        Judge Spaeth ordered Mr. Miller to pay Ms. Young's medical bills.

        The judge said this case is an instructive example of what happens when people decide to take the law into their own hands. He said that when the people appeared at his house, Mr. Miller should have called the police.

        “Your first reaction should have been to call the police and not take the vigilante justice approach,” he said.

        Ms. Young said she would have liked a longer prison sentence for Mr. Miller, but is glad that he will be behind bars for five years.

        “I hate to see his children go without a father,” she said. “But he didn't take into consideration that his children could have been hit by some of those shots.”

       



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