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Man May Face Only 4 Months In Prison For Killing Roommate After Judge Hijacks Plea Deal

Waynesville, MO – A man convicted of fatally shooting his roommate with a shotgun during an argument in 2018 could spend as little as four months in prison if he successfully completes treatment.

Ian Miller, 48, was originally charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the June 24, 2018 shooting death of 23-year-old Lane Kennedy, KOLR reported.

The incident occurred at Miller’s home on Brownsville Road in Crocker, where Kennedy had also been residing, Lake News Online reported at the time.

Miller called 911 at approximately 10:34 that night to report he had shot Kennedy during an argument.

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) deputies arrived at the scene to find Kennedy dead from a gunshot wound to the torso, according to Lake News Online.

According to prosecutors, Miller told investigators that he was riding in a vehicle with Kennedy earlier in the night when Kennedy began driving erratically.

Miller said he became frightened and angry, so when they got home, he ran inside to grab his shotgun, Lake News Online reported.

He said Kennedy asked him what he was doing and tried to grab the gun away from him, at which point Miller pulled the trigger, according to prosecutors.

When the gun failed to fire, Miller pulled the trigger again, shooting Kennedy.

Miller told police Kennedy was still able to walk after being hit, so he reloaded and pulled the trigger a third time, Lake News Online reported.

Despite having been shot twice, Kennedy allegedly continued to come towards him, according to Miller.

The gunman said he then swung his shotgun like a baseball bat and clobbered Kennedy in the torso.

According to court documents, Miller’s account of what occurred conflicted with evidence at the scene, and he failed to explain what Kennedy allegedly did to make him think he was trying to attack him, Lake News Online reported.

The suspect said Kennedy did not make any threats towards him during the confrontation, nor did he have any weapons.

Miller pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter on Sept. 23, 2020, the Pulaski County Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.

As part of the plea agreement, Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Hillman recommended that Miller be sentenced to 12 years in the Department of Corrections.

Missouri Circuit Court Judge John Berger partially followed Hillman’s recommendation by sentencing Miller to 12 years, but also ordered him to complete the Institutional Treatment Program.

“If the defendant successfully completes the treatment program, then Judge Beger will most likely release him back into the community on probation after only 120 days in the Department of Corrections,” the prosecutor’s office explained.

Hillman said he was extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision to issue such a lenient sentence.

“I was very disappointed in this sentence and did not feel it was appropriate for the seriousness of the crime nor did it take into account the harm caused by the defendant and his misconduct,” Hillman said in the press release. “It troubles me that someone who is found guilty of intentionally killing another human is given such a lenient sentence.”

The prosecutor said he does not believe probation “is in any way appropriate in this case,” and vowed he “will do what I can legally to object to the granting of probation.”

According to Pulaski County jail records, Miller was also being held for four counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

The disposition in that case is unknown.

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Avatar Written by Holly Matkin

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