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Guilty or not? Closing statements, jury deliberates in Abilene ‘mattress murder’ trial of father & son

By Karley Cross,


ABILENE, Texas ( KTAB/KRBC ) – A Taylor County jury is in deliberations as of Thursday afternoon, after just two full days of testimonies in the Murder trial of Aaron Howard. 36-year-old Michael Miller and his father, Johnnie Dee, 72, are being tried for shooting Howard to death.

State, defense rests in Abilene ‘mattress murder’ trial

As video footage was nearly immediately submitted, the question in the trial for the Murder of Aaron Howard wasn’t whether or not the Millers shot him, but whether or not it was self defense.

During closing statements, defense implored the jury to walk in the Millers’ shoes. The attorney showed a bat to the jurors, reminding them of Howard’s 6’7″ stature. Similarly, the state attorney showed the jury a shotgun and pistol, reminding them that a firearm is always a deadly weapon.

While defense said the state only brought in two witnesses – Kara Box and Justin Campbell, the attorney told the courtroom those witnesses could not be the only reliable sources.

Millers trial day 2: Abilene alleyway shootout trial looks into victim’s behavior

On day one of the trial, Justin Campbell, a lifelong friend to Howard, testified that his friend could be aggressive and intimidating at times. In closing, Justin shared, “Aaron had that bat in his hand. He went to swing it at that dude, that dude f—ing pulled his trigger.”

The video recorded by Box was shown to the courtroom in slow motion. The state’s attorney pointed out that Howard was about six feet away when the Millers shot at him.

The defense’s ultimate closing argument to the jurors was that this was a killing in the name of self defense. The attorney said if somebody is attempting serious bodily injury, you can use deadly force.

Millers trial day 1: Opening statements and forensic report

On the state’s side, the attorney asked the jury to also put themselves in the shoes of Howard, and decide if a baseball bat is capable of causing serious bodily injury in the way it was used.

While the state said Howard was everything you wouldn’t want in a neighbor, it certainly wasn’t a justified killing. To the jurors, the state’s attorney said, “In Texas, everyone matters. If you’re a good guy or a bad guy, or in between. We all matter.”

A defense attorney on the Millers’ team pleaded to the jurors, “It’s been four-and-a-half years. It ends today. They’ve been waiting for you.”

The jury is now in deliberations. Check back with for a verdict.

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