ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The trial of a father and son who were accused of killing their neighbor during a fight in an Abilene alleyway over trash began January 24.
Both Johnnie Dee and Michael Miller were charged in connection with the murder of Aaron Howard, who was shot and killed in an alley on the 4300 block of Don Juan Street on September 1, 2018. The defense pleads not guilty and said the Millers acted out of self defense, while the state argues that Johnnie and Michael Miller are guilty and should be charged with murder.
KTAB/KRBC was present during day two of the trial: here’s a summary from January 25.
State Witness – Josh Mares:
On day two, Josh Mares, code enforcement, spoke on an altercation he had with Howard in May 2018. Mares was called out for a complaint on bad conditions in the alley and before he was able to knock on the house to let occupants know about the violations, Howard came out of the house.
Mares told him about the violations and said Howard became upset and started to raise his voice. Howard began to yell and curse at him, which did not intimidate Mares until Howard was around one to two feet away from his face. He recalled Howard saying “I’ll shoot you if you come back on my property.” He was charged for threatening a public servant.
Witness – John Chong:
John Chong, APD Officer, was the first officer on scene, responding to a call about two men fighting. He recalled two people yelling when he responded to the call and separated them to get each side of the story. He stayed down the street for around 45 minutes just in case the argument picked up and was on scene for around 30 minutes.
Chong did not identify them, but they were later identified as Howard and Campbell. They were fighting and choking each other before officers (three in total) responded. Chong refused to answer if Howard had ‘bad character,’ but shared that he was not threatened by him.
Witness – Jordan Brown:
Jordan Brown, APD Sergeant, responded to a shooting call at the Don Juan Address. When he arrived, Howard was already at the hospital. Johnnie and Micheal Miller were separated in different patrol cars.
He shared that the Millers were willing to talk to cops and interviewed Micheal Miller at the station. He reviewed Box’s video before he interviewed Miller.
Comments from Defense:
The defense spoke to jurors after watching the interrogation video. Defense said that Micheal Miller brought a gun because he was worried about his 67-year-old father after hearing threats from Howard. The Defense added that Howard seemed threatening and intimidating.
The Defense explained that Johnnie Miller shot after Howard raised a bat up. Once Johnnie shot, Howard threw the bat and Micheal Miller shot to protect his father. Defense said Howard was the aggressor and the Millers acted out of self defense.
Witness – Angel Montelongo:
Angel Montelongo, mailman, delivered mail four days before the shooting and said he cuts through yards to be quicker. When he delivered mail to Howard’s home, Howard came out of his house yelling and said “he does not need to be looking at his daughters window,” and began to swear at Montolango.
Montelongo shared he has had encounters before, but this was different because Howard was so angry. He told Howard he can put his mail on hold at the post office, which mad him more made. Montelongo went to the mail-car and Howard chased him to the car. Montelongo said he called supervisors and Howard began to scream, bang on the mail-car with his hand and threatened to kill him.
Witness – Jimmy Wood:
Jimmy Wood, APD Patrol Officer, shared that he was in charge of keeping Campbell in the backyard on the day of the incident. Wood also shared that he has been a part of APD for 18 years and knew Howard to be an ‘aggressive guy.’ The defense said Campbell’s testimony does not line up with Woods.
Witness – Courtney Estes:
Courtney Estes, nearby neighbor, said she saw Howard pull Box by her hair to the ground. At the time, there was kids present and when Howard raised his hand towards them, the kids ran inside. Estes was also present when Howard and Campbell were arguing in the front yard.
She said she saw one of them throw a skateboard, which hit a house. She heard threats and Howard say the police were not allowed at his house and if they showed up, they would kill him.
Estes also said she noticed that less people walked in the neighborhood while Howard was there and after the family moved out, people began to walk around again.
Witness – Mary Louise Dunlap:
Mary Louise Dunlap, nearby neighbor, said Campbell was choked by Howard and body slammed. She called the police when she saw them fighting and watched as Howard told one of the officers to leave his property while pointing a finger at the officer’s chest.
Witness – Bill Wheatley:
Bill Wheatley, APD Marshall, said Howard threatened John Mares, code enforcement. He took a statement from Johnnie Miller, but was dismissed before finishing his statement due to disagreements between attorneys.
Witness – Christina Enriquez:
Howard accused Enriquez of cutting in line and cussed her out, according to her account. She explained that he said ugly things about her and told her “I can beat your a** and I don’t care if you’re a woman.”