Friday Jul 20 2012
Court sees outburst from Roseville defendant during homicide sentencingBy: Scott Thomas Anderson, The Press Tribune
What began as a straightforward hearing to sentence a Roseville man for murder took a jarring turn Friday afternoon, after the killer unleashed verbal attacks on law enforcement, prosecutors and the victim's family. Placer County Judge Mark Curry quickly put a halt to the scene, rebuking 47-year-old Brad Miller for his behavior and then sentencing him to 50 years to life. Miller was convicted in June of shooting Eric McGhee to death in April 2010. McGhee?s family members confirm the two men were good friends at one time. When Miller was offered a chance to make a final statement prior to his sentence being handed down, he appeared at first to be apologizing to McGhee's family. "There are no words to convey effectively how deeply sad I am that Eric is gone," Miller told the court. "He was a good friend, a loving father and a doting husband. He was a genuine person." However, Miller's tone soon changed. He began raising his voice as he made accusations of collusion and perjury against law enforcement and prosecutors. He then turned his angry remarks against the victim's family. Placer County Deputy District Attorney Garen Horst later called Miller's behavior toward McGhee's loved ones "unbelievable." Miller's outburst was interrupted by the judge. "Keep your comments confined to your sentencing," Curry ordered him. "I'm not going to hear any of this." When Miller failed to stop, two sheriff's bailiffs confronted him. "Now it's my turn to talk," Curry told the court. "I think Mr. Miller is a coward and an executioner. I'm personally convinced beyond all doubt that he shot his friend in the back of the head." Prior to Friday's sentencing, defense attorney Chris Van Meir objected to the probation report's mention that Miller had also been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in the state of Montana. "The jury in that case in Montana ultimately did not convict him of a felony charge," Van Meir said. "Rather they convicted him of a lower misdemeanor, which isn?t at all clear when you read this report." Van Meir also requested the report be amended to reflect Miller's problems with alcohol abuse as a mitigating factor in the slaying. Horst objected. "We think his drinking is an aggravating factor in the case, not a mitigating factor," he said, "as well as his history of violence." Curry ruled that certain points of the report would be amended, and some would not. Scott Thomas Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.