33 Years Later, Murder Suspect Found—Living as Church Deacon

Police say Joseph Lewis Miller confessed to 1981 murder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2014 1:21 PM CDT
33 Years Later, Murder Suspect Found—Living as Church Deacon
This undated photo provided by the Wood County Sheriff's Office shows Joseph Lewis Miller.   (AP Photo/Wood County Sheriff)

Joseph Lewis Miller, a disabled 78-year-old church deacon, has been living quietly in the small rural town of Mineola, Texas, since the 1980s, under the name of Roy Eubanks. He has arthritis and a Pacemaker and uses a cane; he's served on a number of boards in the community; he used to work at a local paper plant; and he told his wife, Gennell Eubanks, that he once killed a man in "the accident that happened" decades ago—but said he never meant for it to happen, she tells the AP. Yesterday, federal agents arrested Miller on 33-year-old murder charges after tracking him to Mineola, and Miller was quick to confess.

They say Miller shot a man in the head in a parking lot outside a hotel in Harrisburg, Pa., in 1981. The victim, Thomas Waller, was found dead inside his car. Miller was charged with murder and three other felonies, but fled the state. Investigators got a tip that he had been living in Mexico under the name of his deceased cousin, and used that information to trace him to Texas. Miller's wife says her husband claimed he was trying to help his brother during a fight when Waller was killed, and that his relatives in Pennsylvania "didn't want him to come back. They told him to leave." Oddly, Miller also pleaded guilty in a 1959 murder, but his life sentence was commuted in 1971 after he had served more than 11 years, the Patriot-News reports. (Meanwhile, the ex-cop convicted in the "coldest case ever solved" is appealing.)

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