A 16-year-old Perrysburg teen was sentenced to life in prison without parole for fatally stabbing a Toledo man in his driveway.
Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry sentenced Tyler Miller on Thursday.
Mayberry didn’t mince words when reviewing Miller’s transgressions, calling him a “cold-blooded, remorseless murderer.”
“I’ve looked and looked for some redeemable quality. I’ve looked and looked for some hint of remorse. I’ve looked and looked for something that would tell me there’s a possibility for rehabilitation. And I’ve not been able to find it,” Mayberry said.
Defense attorney Jeffrey P. Nunnari said an appeal would be made, with new counsel.
At least 15 family members of the victim, Amonie Ervin, who was 19 when Miller killed him on Nov. 29, were in attendance.
Miller’s family also was in attendance but left immediately after the sentencing concluded.
Monica DeLeon, director for victim and witness services for the prosecutor’s office, read a statement provided by Ervin’s mother, Akisha Gaston.
Gaston wrote about how Ervin was the sixth youngest child out of eight and how his death has impacted the family’s life.
“I am not sure what Amonie did so wrong that he was maliciously done this way. Tyler took something so valuable away from me and my family,” Gaston said. “This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face or do in my 44 years of living and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
Gaston rocked in the front row while DeLeon read her statement.
“I don’t believe or feel that Tyler should ever experience anything or have a second chance at coming home or being around his family ever again,” she stated.
Miller should get the maximum term of life in prison, Gaston wrote.
“I’m not ready to forgive now … but maybe in the near future with prayers and strength I’ll get through this and maybe give forgiveness one day.”
Before his death, Ervin had planned to head to California to pursue music. He loved animals to the point he took on a friend’s dog.
Ervin’s family met with Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson in his office after sentencing. Dobson said Gaston was not up to speaking with the media on the case.
During his 40 minutes in court, Miller spent much of the time leaning back in his chair.
Nunnari said that the law says the sentence in this case must be severe.
“The law also says that the most severe sentence should rarely be imposed upon one who was a juvenile when committing the crime,” he said.
Nunnari said mitigating factors are Miller’s age. He was 16 when he committed the crime.
“Science tells us that his judgment … is impaired by virtue of the development of his brain,” Nunnari said, adding that a brain does not mature until the age of 25.
“He is not operating with a full deck,” Nunnari said.
He had filed a motion to have Miller evaluated for a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, but Miller did not meet the criteria.
Mayberry said he had read letters submitted from agencies where Miller was treated, and the evaluation done to determine whether Miller was insane at the time of the incident.
The court needs to decide if his client is irreparably corrupt. “There is no question that he’s ill.”
Nunnari said the court should not decide whether he is given the chance for parole, but that decision should be left up to the parole board.
Mayberry had the option of a life sentence with a chance of parole at 20 years, 25 years and 30 years.
“It is only an opportunity,” Nunnari said about parole. “People seldom get paroled for this type of offense on the first time up. It’s just a shot, it’s just a chance, and that’s all we’re asking for.”
Dobson agreed age was a mitigating factor — but it is the only mitigating factor in this case.
Miller’s brain was fully developed to “plan to kill another young man, and innocent young man, to develop that plan. He talked about wanting to kill someone and ultimately he decided that that was what he was going to do,” Dobson said.
There was nothing about Ervin that justified making him a target for murder, he said.
“Despite that, Tyler Miller had no intention on that day but to kill Mr. Ervin. He called him in order to kill him, he arranged this deal … in order to kill him, he grabbed a knife from the kitchen in order to kill him, he walked out of his garage door in order to kill him. He got into the car to kill Mr. Ervin and he pulled that knife, without saying anything,” Dobson said.
Dobson said, in details provided by Miller to the probation department, he admitted to no exchange, aggravation or accusations made during the event.
“He is not an insane individual that needs to be out as soon as possible. He was an angry man who wanted to kill somebody, found his target, planned it and executed it,” he said.
Dobson said if the court decided Miller should not be in prison for life without parole, he asked that the sentence would be life with parole after 30 years.
When asked by Mayberry if he wanted to speak, Miller declined, stating “nah, I’m good.”
The court must consider Miller’s age when considering sentencing and the premeditation and actions after the offense, Mayberry said.
“Your mental state and history also creates considerable concern for the court,” he said. “It is obvious that the court does not have a crystal ball to determine whether you are irreparably corrupt.”
Mayberry said he also must consider whether it is likely Miller will commit another offense if released.
“The court would find it’s more likely because you were under release when you committed this offense,” he said.
Juvenile court had charges against Miller that had been continued.
He had been expelled from Perrysburg High School after punching another student.
Mayberry also said recidivism was likely as Miller has failed to demonstrate any genuine remorse.
In reviewing hospital reports, he noted homicidal ideation and Miller’s desire to be a serial killer, and aggressive tendencies would not change with treatment.
Mayberry also said it was noted that Miller had reportedly killed animals and ate their eyes and their hearts.
“This is not somebody demonstrating that they can get past being irreparably corrupt,” he said.
Miller sent messages to friends the day of the stabbing, saying what he planned to do, Mayberry said.
Ervin was stabbed 20-25 times as he sat in his car, unable to defend himself and still in his seatbelt, “all because he shorted you on some drug transactions,” Mayberry said.
The coroner’s office ruled he died at the scene from the stab wounds.
After the stabbing, Miller went back into his house, got his cigarettes and left. He was found several hours later by police at the home of a friend, several blocks away.
He was taken into custody and a knife with blood on it was found in his pocket.
After being Mirandized, Miller confessed to the crime and said he had taken a knife from his kitchen when he went to meet Ervin. He planned to stab him in the vehicle, flee in it and dump the body elsewhere.
Tyler turns 17 on Monday.
Dobson said the death penalty could not be considered because of Miller’s age.
Miller, who entered the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit with handcuffs and leg shackles, will likely be taken to Ohio Department Rehabilitation and Correction in Orient.
Miller was originally charged as a juvenile. His case was bound over as an adult and a grand jury indicted him in December for the aggravated murder charge.