Fort Worth

Father, son accused of killing neighbor over mattress back in jail after bond increased

A Texas father and son accused of killing a neighbor over a mattress were back in jail Saturday after authorities reviewed a video of the fatal shooting and their bond was increased.

Originally, bond was set at $25,000 by a justice of the peace after John Miller, 67, and Michael Miller, 31, were arrested Sept. 1 in Abilene in what Abilene police said was a fatal shooting of their neighbor, Aaron Howard. They bonded out shortly after they were taken into custody.

But Abilene police recently reviewed video of the shooting recorded by Howard’s common law wife, Kara Box. Box released the video a few days ago because she wanted to show what happened that September morning.

Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said Friday in a news release the immediate release of the Millers was a “concern to him and our community.”

On Friday, Taylor County District Attorney Jim Hicks filed a motion of insufficiency of bond and that bond was raised to $250,000.

The Millers were arrested Friday without incident and remained in custody Saturday in the Taylor County Jail.

John Miller, Michael (black).jpg
John Miller (left) and his son, Michael Miller Courtesy: Taylor County Jail

Box told the Star-Telegram they had moved to that Abilene home in April, but they had never talked to the Millers until the morning of Sept. 1. The Millers were next-door neighbors.

“We had thrown out a twin mattress and placed it in a dumpster in our alley a few days before the shooting,” Box said. “You have to have the mattress in the dumpster or they will not haul it away.”

On the morning of Sept. 1, Box and Howard were in their backyard when they saw the mattress was on their property. Howard tossed it back in the dumpster.

Box said that’s when John Miller came to the alley, pulled the mattress out of the dumpster and tossed it back on Howard’s property.

Howard told Miller to put it back in the dumpster. Miller cursed at Howard and told him he wasn’t going to do that, Box said.

“That’s when John (Miller) pulled a pistol out of his shorts,” she said. Box noted that Howard’s nieces and nephews had been with them in the backyard.

“Aaron goes into papa bear mode,” Box told the Star-Telegram. “A man has just pulled a gun on his wife, his brother, his nieces and nephews.”

A tense conversation ensues between Howard, who is not armed, and John and Michael Miller, who arrives on the scene armed with a shotgun.

Howard threatens to kill the Millers, and the Millers repeatedly curse at Howard, according to the video.

As tempers flare, Box steps in between her husband and John Miller. Howard’s brother has handed him a baseball bat by this time, but he never swung it, his wife said.

“If you come within 3 feet of me, I’m going to kill you,” Miller tells Howard. Seconds later, two gunshots are heard. The video also shows Michael Miller firing the shotgun after the first two shots are fired.

Box starts screaming, “No, no, Aaron!” after her husband is shot in the chest and head.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.: 817-390-7763,@mingoramirezjr.
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