State v. Miller

96 Ohio St. 3d 384 (2002)

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State v. Miller

Ohio Supreme Court
96 Ohio St. 3d 384 (2002)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Jeffrey Miller (defendant) practiced target shooting one day while his wife, Lisa, was working. When Lisa had not returned home by 9:00 p.m., Miller wrote a note stating he was leaving her, had a drink with a neighbor, and asked the neighbor to help him remove his guns from his home. The neighbor left without the guns when he heard the garage door opening. At about 10:30 p.m., Miller called 911 to report an incident. Miller told the first officer to arrive that he had accidentally shot Lisa and was trying to stop the bleeding. A revolver was on the kitchen table, and a damaged gun holster was on the floor. Miller was charged with aggravated murder and felony murder. Miller’s next-door neighbor testified he saw Lisa pull into the garage, heard Miller threaten to kill Lisa if she did not “shut up,” and heard a gunshot an hour later. Lisa’s daughter testified that she telephoned her mother at 10:20 p.m. and Lisa told her Miller was drunk and playing with his guns. The deputy coroner testified that Lisa had bled to death from having been shot in the face from about 18 inches away. The jury convicted Miller of murder while committing felonious assault. The court of appeals reversed because Miller’s act of shooting his wife in the face at close range had to be either intentional or accidental and therefore Miller could not have committed felonious assault. The state (plaintiff) appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lundberg Stratton, J.)

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