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TIMELINE: 4+ years between arrest & verdict in 2018 Abilene ‘mattress murder,’ why so long?

By Karley Cross,


ABILENE, Texas ( ) – It took about 4-and-a-half years for justice to be served in the case of the viral 2018 Abilene ‘mattress murder.’

In September 2018, Aaron Howard was recorded arguing with his alleyway neighbors about a box spring between their homes. He had a baseball bat and his neighbors, father and son Johnnie Dee and Michael Miller had firearms.


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Howard’s then fiancé, Kara Box, recorded the video on her phone. BCH does not have access to this footage.

As arguments escalated, from around six feet away, Johnnie Dee Miller could be seen firing the first shots to Howard’s arm, from a handgun. Then, Michael Miller would serve the final shot to Howard’s head, using a shotgun.


Abilene trash fight murder suspects bond out of jail for 2nd time Trials rescheduled for Abilene father, son accused of killing neighbor over trash

After years of rescheduling, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, a trial would finally be held in January 2023. There were only 2 full days of trial before both the state and defense rested on day 3. By that night, a Taylor County jury found Johnnie Dee Miller to be guilty, and Michael Miller not guilty.


Two high-profile Abilene murders scheduled for trial on same day

BCH’s 2023 trial coverage

Only 1/10th of potential jurors show up in Abilene mattress murder, trial could last 2+ weeks Murder or Self Defense? Trial for father, son accused of killing neighbor over trash in alley begins in Abilene Millers Trial: Day One witnesses, opening statements and forensic report
Millers trial day 2: Abilene alleyway shootout trial looks into victim’s behavior State, defense rests in Abilene ‘mattress murder’ trial Guilty or not? Closing statements, jury deliberates in Abilene ‘mattress murder’ trial of father & son 1 GUILTY VERDICT: Johnnie Dee Miller found guilty for Abilene ‘mattress murder,’ son found not guilty Son cries, father addresses family in moments after Abilene ‘mattress murder’ trail verdict Abilene’s ‘mattress murder’ guilty verdict sentences 72-year-old to 14 years in prison

At Miller’s sentencing hearing Friday, January 27, 2023, the jury sentenced Johnnie Dee Miller – who would soon be 72 years old – to serve 14 years in jail without fine.

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