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Trial for Miller Jr. to begin Jan. 22

  • Kenneth Miller Jr.

    Kenneth Miller Jr.
    RCSO Photo

By Pete Spitler
updated: 11/16/2017 12:42 PM

Almost a year after his first arrest, Kenneth Miller Jr. is expected to go to trial.

During a case management conference on Thursday, Judge Richard A. Brown set a January 22, 2018 trial date for Miller's case involving the alleged Green Street arson and Scuttle Inn Lounge burglary.

The 35-year-old Miller, of Percy, has been charged with arson, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer (exceeding 21 mph over the posted limit) and burglary after his January 31, 2017 arrest.

Miller also has a single charge of residential burglary after a June arrest that alleges he burglarized a home on North Meadow Lane on Steeleville's north side while out on bond for the Green Street/Scuttle Inn incidents.

He is being represented by private attorney Thomas Mansfield in the January case, while public defender James Kelley is representing Miller regarding the June arrest.

Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker was insistent that the two cases be tried separately.

"I don't think it would be appropriate to try both at the same time," he said during Thursday's hearing. "They are completely unrelated issues."

According to the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, at 4:41 a.m. on Jan. 31, a house Miller co-owned on Green Street, just outside of Steeleville village limits, was reported to be on fire by a Village of Steeleville employee who had happened to be driving by.

Law enforcement attending the fire later recognized Miller in his car, a 2003 Mitsubishi, as he drove past the scene.

Officers then attempted to stop Miller at 5:11 a.m., but he allegedly fled. Thirty-five minutes later, sheriff's deputies responded to a burglar alarm at the Pyramid Oaks Golf Course in Percy, where a cash register and other items were taken from the Scuttle Inn Lounge.

Sources at the golf course told the Herald Tribune at the time that the perpetrator gained entry and exit by breaking two windows next to the pro shop.

Slightly more than three hours later, at 8:52 a.m., Miller called 911 to report he was the victim of a battery, the circumstances of which still have not been officially released. Law enforcement then located Miller and his vehicle, with police allegedly recovering evidence of the burglary.

In the time since his arrests, Miller's defense team has attempted to get their shared client eligible for Chapter 20 probation due to substance issues, but it was denied as arson is considered a violent crime.

Mansfield has also successfully fought for Miller, who has been out on bond since July 2, to receive residential drug treatment at The Fellowship House in Anna.

"Mr. Miller has successfully completed treatment and I agree the case should be set for the January docket," Mansfield told Brown during Thursday's hearing.

The parties briefly discussed scheduling a Jan. 8 trial date, but Mansfield said he has three trials in Jackson County scheduled for that week.