After a four-day trial and nearly five hours of deliberations by the jury, Greg Miller was found not guilty of first degree murder. He was found guilty of child abuse and the jury recommended a 17-year prison sentence.
Miller is charged with first degree murder in the 2015 death of 19-month-old Lane Fairchild.
Among those who testified was William Hunt of the Tipton Police Department. At the time of Fairchild’s death, 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.
Lisa Bradley, Fairchild’s paternal grandmother testified that she was active in Fairchild’s life and that she often babysat him while his mother worked. She kept him all day Feb. 25, two days before Fairchild would be deceased.
Bradley testified that Fairchild looked and acted like he usually did and that there were no marks or bruises on him when she took care of him that day.
Testimony from multiple witnesses described interviews with Miller changing several times when he talked about what happened to Fairchild. One witness testified 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.
Another witness testified that Miller said he woke up because he heard his dog barking outside.
Witnesses also testified that Miller was known to use marijuana and alcohol frequently. Other testimony included medical professionals and a child abuse expert who described the injuries to Fairchild’s body.
Child abuse expert Dr. Ryan Brown testified that he believes Fairchild’s death was caused by child abuse but that he couldn’t say who caused those injuries.
Miller’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April, 2018.
Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.