Greg Miller and Kelly Fairchild appeared in court for a second preliminary hearing Dec. 8. This was a rehearing of the January 2016 preliminary hearing. Judge Michael Flanagan wanted the case reheard due to issues with the transcripts from the first hearing. Judge Brad Benson presided over the new hearing.
Miller and Fairchild are both charged with murder in the first degree child abuse for the 2015 death of Fairchild’s son, Lane Fairchild. The state’s first witness was Dr. William Kok. He testified that the child was brought into the Emergency Room not breathing and that they worked to revive him from about 1:20 a.m. until about 2:24 a.m. with no success. Kok pronounced the child dead on arrival.
After Kok’s testimony, Benson called for a 10 minute recess. When the hearing resumed, Fairchild was excused since Kok’s new testimony was recorded. The hearing continued for Miller and Cpl. Jason Brown with the Frederick Police Department was called to the stand.
Brown was working as a sheriff’s deputy with the Tillman County Sheriff’s Department at the time of the alleged murder. He was dispatched to the hospital for an unspecified reason. He testified that when he arrived at the hospital he saw Officer Bill Hunt, Fairchild and Miller standing outside the Emergency Room and he noticed that there was something going on inside the big emergency room.
“I wasn’t sure what, I just noticed there was a lot of nurses and doctors running around in there,” Brown said.
Brown went on to testify that he noticed an intoxicating odor about the breath and person of Miller and he also allegedly had slurred speech at the time. He also said that Miller had told him the sound of his dog shaking its head is what woke him up. He then allegedly told him that he looked down and the baby was lying on the floor, not on the mattress where he’d put him and the dog had run out the front door, which was open.
Brown said that he noticed an inconsistency when he overheard Miller repeating that story to Hunt. He allegedly told Hunt that the reason he woke up was because he heard his dog barking outside.
Brown also testified that after the child was pronounced deceased, he witnessed Kok tell Miller and Fairchild what happened. Brown testified that Miller became more distraught.
“He kind of fell down to his knees and started to ask why and things like that,” Brown said. “Then he got up and started walking around the waiting area…and started to say it was his fault and that I could take him to jail.”
Brown testified that Capt. Joe Rodriquez arrived at the hospital later that morning and Miller again told the story of what happened with another slight change. This time he allegedly said that the reason he woke up was because he was cold because the door was open.
Hunt is the assistant chief of police at the Tipton Police Department. He was the third witness called to the stand. At the time of the alleged murder, Hunt was working for the Frederick Police Department. He testified that on the night of the incident, he was dispatched to the Frederick Hospital for an unknown reason. Upon his arrival in the hospital, he met a nurse who told him his assistance was needed in Emergency Room 3 — the big emergency room.
Hunt also testified that he smelled alcohol on the breath and person of Miller.
“When he was talking he had slurred speech,” Hunt said. “He was real exaggerated with his movements, kind of all over the place…making hand motions, when he’d walk and talk, he just kind of went everywhere.”
Hunt testified that he asked Miller what happened and Miller allegedly told him that he woke up because it was cold in the house, and he realized the door had come open so he walked over and shut it.
“He looked down at the child who was laying on a baby mattress on the floor and the dog was laying next to the child,” Hunt testified. “He said the child just looked funny so he picked him up and he started gasping for air…and he told Miss Fairchild to call 911. He said the child had been smothered by the dog.”
Hunt also testified that he believed there was potential for Miller to become violent at the hospital that night because he had been dispatched on previous calls involving Miller.
The preliminary hearing for Miller is scheduled to continue Feb. 23 at the Tillman County Courthouse.
Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.