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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Timo Miller--it's complicated

Well, Timo Miller will soon be safely back in Nicaragua, but yet another "not known to be related" Miller has been handcuffed in his place:

A Virginia man who federal prosecutors say helped a woman leave the country with her daughter so she wouldn't have to turn custody of the girl over to her former lesbian partner surrendered Tuesday to face charges he aided in international parental kidnapping. 

A complaint unsealed Tuesday said Kenneth L. Miller, 46, of Stuarts Draft, Va., arranged passage for Lisa Miller to travel to Canada before flying with her daughter in September 2009 to Nicaragua, where she was sheltered for a time by a group of Mennonite missionaries. Kenneth Miller appeared in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vt., on Tuesday and was released, said U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, who would provide no further information about the case. 

The affidavit made public Tuesday indicated that Timothy Miller had helped provide the information that led to the charges against Kenneth Miller. The affidavit says Timothy Miller arranged passage for Lisa Miller and her daughter, paying for the tickets with his mother-in-law's credit card, but Kenneth Miller had told him he would be reimbursed for the price of the tickets.

So, it wasn't Lisa he was willing to rat on, but his alleged co-conspirator (and fellow Beachy minister). This man is much better prepared for the court battle he faces than was Timo, who was blindsided by the FBI. And the FBI isn't crowing about the arrest this time:

“The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Kenneth L. Miller, 46, of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, surrendered today to face charges stemming from his role in the international parental kidnapping by Lisa Miller of a child who has been the subject of a dispute of parental rights in Rutland, Vermont family court since 2004.
According to the complaint unsealed today, Kenneth L. Miller contacted associates in Nicaragua and Canada to request their support for Lisa Miller as she fled the United States with the daughter she shared with her civil union partner in 2009. The complaint alleges that at Kenneth Miller’s direction, the individuals purchased plane tickets for Lisa Miller and her child to fly from Canada to Nicaragua, and transported Miller and her child from a hotel in Canada to the airport for her flights. The complaint further indicates that Kenneth Miller maintained contact with two cellular telephones that appeared to travel from Virginia to Canada in advance of Lisa Miller’s departure from Canada. A grand jury has previously returned an indictment charging Lisa Miller with international parental kidnapping.
The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty. If he is convicted, Kenneth Miller faces a maximum possible sentence of up to three years in prison; however, the actual sentence in the event of a conviction will be determined in accordance with the federal sentencing guidelines and the sentencing factors of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Mr. Miller is represented by Dennis Boyle of Boyle, Autry, and Murphy, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, and local counsel Brooks G. McArthur of Jarvis, McArthur and Williams.
The United States Attorney commended the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their hard work on this matter.”
I sense a cutback in the heated rhetoric that surrounded Timo's arrest.  And that everybody is being more careful--even the FBI.

UPDATE: As in the case of Timo, there is a website set up for those interested in following Ken Miller's case: The big difference is that this site is merely a policy statement and not a source of updates [UPDATE: this has since changed, as the site has grown and developed].
I should clarify my statement above, in which I used the colloquial expression "rat on." I don't believe that Timo at any point would be willing to disclose Isabella's location in exchange for his own freedom. He faced three years of detention at most; Isabella, almost ten. Nor was it so simple as a matter of him being released in exchange for "ratting on" Ken Miller. That statement was purely from the apparent perspective of the prosecution, who seem to have very little clue what this case is all about. Timo was out of the country when all of the alleged crimes were committed; thus the prosecution had a very weak case against him. However, since he was not physically in the States, they were able to proceed with the fiction that his crimes had been committed in Vermont.

Ken Miller, however, is an entirely case altogether. The man had already left the country when all this went down, thus has been out of reach of the FBI. Clearly, he returned to the U.S. knowing that he would be arrested once he reached American soil. He is not trying to run from what he did, but is quite willing to take whatever punishment is dished out, should he be found a criminal for what he did out of conscience. But since all of the activities in which the court is interested took place in Virginia, he will insist on being tried there. There is no validity to their claim that he did anything in the "Federal District of Vermont."

Should the Feds admit that Virginia is the place where the deeds were done, expect quite a few more arrests to follow. So far, they've only been biting at the very bottom of the food chain, and there are quite a few people in the chain between Lisa and Ken.

UPDATE February 2013:
I believe that the Feds still have a case against the Baptists who handed off Lisa and Isabella to the Mennonites. In an interesting coincidence, Tip Killingsworth, one of the Baptist suspects, has also gone to Ireland as a missionary in the interim. By choosing to spend the next year--at least--behind bars rather than testify against his Baptist co-conspirators, Ken has complicated the prosecution's case a little. We're still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

UPDATE September 2016:
The other shoe has dropped. But so far only half of the co-conspirators have been tried: Timo will apparently be next.

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