UPDATE: Michael Miller found guilty of 1999 murder

tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.comMay 22, 2014 

Update: Michael York Miller was found guilty Friday for the 1999 murder of Shawnita Campbell.

Jurors having pizza delivered to them for lunch deliberated about an hour before finding Miller guilty of murder, using a firearm to commit a crime and two counts each of threatening a witness.

Judge William Rumer set Miller's sentencing for 2 p.m. May 30, next Friday. Because Miller has prior felony convictions, prosecutors are seeking a sentence of life without parole.

Original story: For a second day attorneys in the murder trial of Michael York Miller focused on the testimony of a woman who says she saw Miller in a car with homicide victim Shawnita Campbell right after hearing a gunshot on April 12, 1999.

The witness, Angela Lyles, said she came out of her boyfriend's home near Coolidge Avenue that day after hearing Campbell's voice among those carrying on a heated argument.

She heard a pop that sounded like a firecracker and saw Campbell in the back seat of a car with Miller, she said. She then heard a loud gurgling sound and saw Campbell's head fall to one side before the car drove off, she said.

The next day Campbell, 24, was found about a half-mile away on Warehouse Avenue. She had been shot in the head with a .25-caliber pistol before her body was dumped in an isolated spot under a big oak tree.

Defense attorneys challenged Lyles' credibility, noting that when questioned about Campbell's homicide while she faced a 2010 burglary charge in Dallas, she denied recognizing Miller in a photo lineup, and she picked another picture as the more likely suspect.

Lyles testified Thursday that in 2010, she was afraid Miller or his associates might track her down, so she didn't want to get involved.

"I didn't want anything to do with it," she said.

She wanted only to get out of jail, she said, so she felt she had to tell detectives something.

Lying about the photo lineup "bothered me a lot," she acknowledged, but she knew that if she came forward to testify, her own troubled past would come under scrutiny.

"I've done a lot of wrong," she said. "I don't want everybody knowing what I did. … I'm going to look stupid, too."

But knowing that like her, Campbell had children, and they would want their mother's killer brought to justice, she later relented and called police back.

"I was thinking about her family," she said.

On her call to police, she said of Miller: "If you want me to testify, I'll testify, but I don't want him to find me."

When police met her a second time, she identified Miller as the man she saw in the car with Campbell.

Under questioning Thursday from defense attorney Robert Wadkins Jr., Lyles admitted she has been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic, and she takes medication.

Miller, who is diabetic, also is on medication. He abruptly began to sob loudly during Lyles' testimony Thursday, prompting Judge William Rumer to call for a recess so the defendant could meet a nurse for his medical needs. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause a surge in anxiety or other emotions.

Closing arguments in the case are expected today. Miller is charged with murder, using a firearm to commit a crime, and two counts of intimidating witnesses.

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