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Published: Saturday, 9/17/2005

Man guilty of trying to kill wife and son

BOWLING GREEN After deliberating a little more than three hours yesterday, a Wood County Common Pleas Court jury found a Troy Township man guilty of trying to kill his wife and son by filling the family s mobile home with exhaust fumes.

Charles Miller II, 39, was convicted on two counts of attempted murder and then sentenced by Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex to 10 years in prison.

Judge Pollex gave him credit for the nearly 10 months he has been held in the county jail.

Special Prosecutor Gary Bishop said Miller would be eligible to apply for early release after serving five years.

Obviously, it s a very sad situation, Mr. Bishop said afterward. We hope that the wife and child can move on with their lives and hopefully not suffer any lasting effects from the psychological impact of what occurred.

Miller, who denied during the trial that he had any part in trying to kill himself, his wife Amanda, 21, and his son from a previous relationship, briefly apologized to the court prior to sentencing, saying he accepts full and total responsibility for the Nov. 29, 2004, crime.

His attorney, C. Drew Griffith, attributed Miller s actions to significant mental stress and perhaps mental health issues. Mr. Griffith said his client feared losing custody of his then 5-year-old son, Noah, to the child s biological mother.

On the day he tried to asphyxiate himself and his family, Miller was scheduled to begin serving six months in a treatment program at the NorthWest Community Corrections Center.

Regarding the 2002 case that led to Miller s six-month sentence, Judge Pollex yesterday sentenced him to 11 months in prison on each of the counts pandering obscenity involving a minor and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance but ordered that they be served concurrently with the 10-year prison term.

Throughout the four-day trial, prosecutors portrayed Miller as a control freak who did not want to give up the power he had over his young wife nor did he want to relinquish custody of his son.

Mr. Bishop said in his closing arguments that he had no doubt Miller loved Noah, but said it was a selfish love.

He wouldn t shoot Noah. He wouldn t stab Noah. He wouldn t kick him, Mr. Bishop said.

What he would do is to try to leave this world and take Noah with him.

Mr. Griffith focused, in part, on the prosecution s lack of physical evidence linking Miller to the crime.

He chastised the Wood County sheriff s department for failing to secure the scene, immediately call a detective to investigate, and take fingerprints from key pieces of evidence.

Mr. Bishop acknowledged that the sheriff s investigation had shortcomings, but he said those shortcomings were not enough to cloud the obvious steps Miller had taken to connect a dryer hose from the exhaust of his van to the underside of the mobile home and leave the van running all night.

The question is not what the sheriff s department did or did not do. The question is what evidence do we have, Mr. Bishop told the jury.

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