"I don’t know how my DNA got there"

“I don’t know how my DNA got there”

A jury on Wednesday convicted Anthony E. Miller of three counts of child molestation involving a boy younger than 14.

The verdict came just hours after Miller, 41, testified in his own defense.

As the guilty verdicts were read by Judge David A. Bolk, the victim’s mother and grandmother began crying and nodding. The mother mouthed the words “thank you” to members of the jury.

The boy at the center of the allegations was not in the courtroom on the final day of the trial, but on Tuesday he testified that on about 13 occasions from late summer 2005 to January 2006, Miller engaged in oral sex and other sex acts with him.

Miller was manager of the Vigo County’s data processing department from 1994 until shortly after his arrest Jan. 26, 2006.

He also worked locally for years as a Santa Claus in the mall, officials have said, although not since at least 2003.

Miller will be sentenced at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 11. He faces 20 to 50 years in prison on each count.

The three class-A felonies are non-suspendible, meaning Miller will have to serve whatever time he is given, minus good-time credit awarded in the Department of Correction. He was taken into custody after the verdict Wednesday pending sentencing.

Miller’s mother was present for the trial and the verdict. Before deputies led him away, he hugged his mom. Miller testified that he has lived with her all his life.

As Miller was taken to the jail, he said, “I’m an innocent man.” He said the boy was lying, adding that his motive was a civil suit for money damages.

The boy’s mother indicated they have filed a civil suit, but would not elaborate.

During the trial, which began Tuesday, the prosecution relied heavily on DNA evidence linking Miller to the victim’s testimony.

Carpet fibers from the basement of the Hendrich Title Co. on Ohio Street, where Miller was employed as an after-hours computer technician, were tested and found to contain semen from both Miller and the victim.

The child, who has been diagnosed with autism, testified Tuesday that Miller used to take him to the basement of the building and perform oral sex on him, and have the child perform oral sex and other sex acts on Miller.

The chance that the semen belonged to someone other than Miller and the victim was 1 in 300 billion, according to Marcie Wease, a technician from the Indiana State Police Lab, who testified earlier Wednesday.

Semen also was found on napkins in the floorboards of the defendant’s truck. DNA testing indicated it had come from Miller and the boy, corroborating the boy’s earlier testimony.

Miller, after firmly denying he had ever had any relationship with the boy, told jurors, “I don’t know how the napkins had my DNA on them or the young man’s DNA.”

He also said he couldn’t explain how his DNA was on the carpet of the title company.

Miller said he had only seen the child once, and that the boy had propositioned him at Fairbanks Park for money in the summer of 2004.

“He flashes me … and says, ‘For $10 I’ll let you play with me,’” Miller testified. “I never saw him before.”

Defense attorney Vernon Lorenz in his closing statement said the jury should acquit Miller based on inconsistencies in the boy’s testimony. There were several disputes about the number of times Miller and the boy met. Lorenz said the prosecution failed to show whether or not the child’s fingerprints were found in Miller’s truck.

He also said the DNA evidence could have been contaminated before being gathered by the police.

Prosecutor Terry Modesitt, in his closing argument, said, “Thank God we’ve come a long way from fingerprints.” He reminded jurors that it wasn’t just DNA found on the floor of the basement and in the truck, but semen that contained the DNA of the victim and Miller, “just like [the victim] said.”

After the verdict, the boy’s mother said, “I feel wonderful. I feel that our prosecutor, detectives and victims’ assistance were wonderful … I owe it all to Mr. Modesitt and Mr. [Detective Rick] Decker.”

The victim’s grandmother added, “I feel bad for [Miller’s] mother. I’m sorry that our victory was her loss. [The defense] had a good attorney.

“But you can’t beat the truth,” she said.

Published in: on December 13, 2007 at 3:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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