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Miller Jr. pleads guilty to fleeing police, burglary

  • Kenneth Miller Jr.

    Kenneth Miller Jr.
    RCSO Photo

By Pete Spitler
updated: 12/20/2017 12:39 AM

One part of the saga of Kenneth Miller Jr. appears to be coming to an end.
Originally scheduled for a final pretrial case management conference on charges of aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, arson and burglary, the 35-year-old Miller, of Percy, pleaded guilty to two of those counts on Tuesday.
Per the terms of the negotiated plea, Miller pleaded guilty to fleeing police and burglary, while Randolph County State's Attorney Jeremy Walker dropped the arson charge to facilitate the plea.
No agreement was reached as to the sentence, meaning Miller will have a sentencing hearing on Friday, March 2 at 1 p.m.
"We thought there was enough evidence to convict him at trial," Walker said after the hearing. "In the arson charge, he was the landowner himself, so there's some argument to be made about burning your own property."
Miller was arrested Jan. 31 after setting a house on fire on Green Street on Steeleville's east side and then leading police on a chase after police observed him drive by the scene in his car.
Police say Miller later burglarized the Scuttle Inn Lounge at Pyramid Golf Course near Percy, before ultimately calling 911 to report he was the victim of a battery - which led to his arrest.
The circumstances of that battery have not been publicly released. Walker told the Herald Tribune/Steeleville Ledger on Tuesday that he planned to elaborate on that at sentencing.
Fleeing police is a Class 4 felony with a possible punishment range of one-to-three years in prison, a year of mandatory supervised release, forfeiture of your driver's license and a fine not to exceed $25,000. On that charge, it was alleged Miller was given visual or audible instruction by a police officer to stop, but knowingly increased his speed to at least 21 mph over the posted limit.
Burglary is a Class 2 felony with a punishment range of three-to-seven years in prison, two years of mandatory supervised release and a fine not to exceed $25,000.
Miller's attorney, Thomas Mansfield, pointed out to Judge Richard A. Brown that the charges don't carry automatic prison sentences and are probation-eligible. Walker agreed with Mansfield's statement.
After the hearing, Walker told the newspaper he intends to seek a prison sentence for Miller.
"Whenever you see these open pleas, the State wants prison, the defendant doesn't want prison and I would say that's what the case is here," he said.
Miller is also facing a charge of residential burglary in a separate case, after he was arrested on June 2 for allegedly burglarizing a home on North Meadow Lane in Steeleville.
According to then-Steeleville Police Chief Tyler Cleland, Miller allegedly gained access to the attached garage of the residence prior to being discovered by the homeowner, who held Miller at gunpoint until police arrived.
Miller was out on bond at the time of the June arrest. That case is being tracked together with his other one and will also have a case management hearing on March 2.
"What we do on the (burglary and fleeing police) case will have a big bearing on what we do in the other case," Walker said.