Ex-State Trooper Charged in Deaths of Pregnant Wife, Baby

Investigators say he lied to police, failed to follow safety measures
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2017 3:35 PM CDT
Ex-State Trooper Charged in Deaths of Pregnant Wife, Baby
This Friday, March 17, 2017, photo provided by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office in Norristown, Pa., shows former Pennsylvania State Police trooper Joseph Miller.   (Montgomery County District Attorney's Office via AP)

More than three years after their deaths, a former Pennsylvania state trooper has been charged in the fatal shooting of his pregnant wife, which also resulted in the death of the baby she was carrying. Joseph Miller, who resigned from the state police Wednesday, told dispatchers during the 911 call in 2014 that he was preparing to clean his gun when he released the slide and pulled the trigger, not realizing there was a round in the magazine at the time. His wife was sitting on the floor nearby sorting baby clothes, per CBS Philadelphia, and was shot in the head; their daughter, who was at 24 weeks gestation, was delivered via emergency c-section. Neither survived. Miller, now 36, was initially cleared in the shooting, but subsequent investigation revealed that he lied to authorities, police say. He has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Tests found that Joanna Miller, 34, was shot from 3 to 6 inches away; thus, Miller "lied to police when he stated he did not know where Joanna was at the time of the shooting" and "also lied" when he told police he was 8 to 10 feet away from her, then "lied again when he changed his answer" and said he was about 2 feet away from her, per the affidavit of probable cause filed last week. "Miller should have been aware that his wife was seated right next to him, and that the muzzle was pointed directly at her head, when he pulled the trigger and shot her to death," it states, adding that he also disregarded safety measures with which, as a state trooper, he should have been familiar. The Millers had two other children together, and Joanna Miller also had two children from a previous relationship. Joseph Miller can be heard consoling children on the 911 recording, ABC News reports. (More involuntary manslaughter stories.)

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