Jay Miller Found Guilty of Drug Induced Homicide

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Published on June 10 2014 3:33 pm
Last Updated on June 11 2014 8:12 am
Written by Greg Sapp

An Effingham County Jury has found Jay Miller of Altamont guilty of drug induced homicide.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler filed the charge against Miller in connection with the February death of 29-year-old Jessica James of Effingham, formerly of Shelbyville. The jury also found the 23-year-old Miller guilty of delivery of controlled substance, that being the heroin that led to James' death.

Miller will be sentenced on July 31.

The prosecution contended that James contacted Miller, Miller secured and delivered the heroin, and James died after ingesting the heroin. 

Kibler said after the verdict was announced that he hopes it sends a message to those who would bring heroin into the county that if a death results, they will be prosecuted.

Kibler said it was a unique case, involving development of evidence and testimony corroborated with electronic evidence. He said this is how cases will be established in the future, as young people communicate electronically.

Assistant State's Attorney Ralph Fowler co-prosecuted the case with Kibler. Fowler said it was a case that started as possession of controlled substance and involved methodical work by police and prosecutors to establish the drug induced homicide case. Kibler said the research involved many pages of text messages and Facebook messages to build the case. He said it would have been tough to win the case without the text messages.

The drug induced homicide count is a Class X felony, or non-probationable offense. Miller will receive anywhere from 15 to 30 years in prison for the offense. The delivery of controlled substance count is a Class 2 felony, which could involve probation in some cases, but not in Miller's case since he has already been found guilty of a felony count of burglary in a separate incident. He is also extended term eligible due to the earlier conviction, meaning a sentence of three to 14 years is possible for that offense.

Miller also earlier pleaded guilty to possession of controlled subtance, the heroin, and was sentenced to five years in prison on that offense. That sentence will run at the same time as whatever sentence he receives on the new convictions.

Miller will remain in Effingham County Jail until the sentencing hearing.