Manslaughter Case Ends After Conviction And Two Pleas
Carl Miller was convicted of manslaughter in a 1996 trial in Biloxi. He was sentenced to 20 years for killing Levi Tanner, with five years suspended.
In 1998, The Mississippi Court of Appeals threw out the case because the trial judge did not tell jurors they could consider self defense.
Miller then pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced again. But another judge later dismissed the plea and ordered a new trial.
By then, Miller had already served almost seven years at Parchman. He was to stand trial again on March 21st in Stone County, but Levi Tanner's family decided they didn't want to endure another trial and they agreed to a plea instead.
The teen's aunt read a statement in court Monday that said, "We talked about what Levi would want. He would not want Cheryl and this family to go through one more day of this process. So, Mr. Miller, the amazing child whose life you cut short is now requesting that your life be handed back to you."
Attorneys say there are no winners in this case.
"The victim's family, the defendant's family cried during the entire plea, and, in fact, the defendant cried during the entire plea. He turned and faced the victim's mother and with teary eyes said that he apologized and knew that she really could never forgive him. But his life has been totally changed," Assistant District Attorney Mark Ward said.
Miller's attorney, Tim Holleman of Gulfport, said, "It's a tragic case of two kids that as teenagers came to a very common occurence, got into a fight that had very serious consequences for both of them. The Tanner boy died and Mr. Miller served six years in the penitentiary. I hope that Karl intends to go and work in his community service and help bring a message to other kids that sometimes there's serious consequences over things that we think are minor."
After pleading guilty to manslaughter again Monday, Judge Kosta Vlahos sentenced Carl Miller to 15 years, but suspended all of them. Miller got five years probation, has to pay $10,000 in restitution to Levi Tanner's family, and must perform 100 hours of community service.