“I’m basically going to prison for three years for being poor.”
So said Jeffrey Miller during a break between sessions Friday in Morrow County Common Pleas Court before he was sentenced for burglary and having a weapon under a disability. A plea deal on reduced charges resulted in two 3-year sentences, to be serve concurrently, minus time served (72 days), and court costs.
Miller and two co-defendants were charged with burglary, attempted theft and criminal trespass after occupying a home and property on State Route 314 that they did not have permission to use or live in. The three were arrested at the site in late April. Miller was also arrested June 26 for theft and having a weapon while under a disability.
Since then, there have been bond motions, other charges and a lot of paperwork filed that has kept this case on the judge’s desk. A jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday, August 24 until the plea deal was struck.
Morrow County Asst. Prosecutor Dave Homer worked with Defense Attorney Don Wick to get the attempted theft, criminal trespass and theft charges dropped in exchange for a guilty plea on two felony charges of burglary and weapons under disability. There will be no opportunity for judicial release.
In Miller’s statement to the court, he said he moved into the State Route 314 home not to burglarize it but to occupy it, since it was empty and a sign was posted on the house saying the ‘owner’s whereabouts were unknown.’ Miller, as a Sovereign Citizen, felt it was within his rights to live in the house since it was, for all intents and purposes, ‘abandoned.’
“The doors weren’t locked and it had been vandalized,” he told Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Hickson, Jr. Miller said he made repairs, cleaned up the house and property, and put utilities in his name. “It was better after I moved in, because I was making improvements.”
He said had the owner showed up, he would have explained why he was there. If he were asked to leave, he would have. He felt he was in the position he was “because of my past, not for something I did. I wasn’t stealing nothing, if anything, I was trying to put equity into the place.”
Miller’s two co-defendants, Richard Sterling and Michael Plaster, are free on bond awaiting trial.
Reach Randa Wagner at 419-946-3010, ext. 1803 or on Twitter@MorrCoSentinel.