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Cheerleading group founder sentenced

August 18, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Heat All-Stars cheerleading group founder Anna Miles was given a six-month jail sentence on Tuesday for writing $24,000 in bad checks drawn on the group's account.

Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III sentenced Anna Lois Miles to serve six months at the Washington County Detention Center for writing about $24,000 in bad checks in late 2003 and early 2004.

If Miles, 31, whose last known mailing address was 1700 Burwood Court in Hagerstown, violates any of the conditions of a three-year probationary period, she could face a nine-year, six-month state prison sentence that the judge suspended.

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Under conditions of her probation, she must not be involved in the finances of any extracurricular activities and must pay back about $16,000 in restitution that Boone said she still owes.

Jenny Ricker, the mother of two daughters who were in the now-defunct group, said she thinks the sentence was "exactly what she should have gotten."

"Money is money, but you're dealing with kids' emotions and feelings," Ricker said. "You can't stick a Band-Aid on their heart or their feelings."

Boone sentenced Miles to concurrent sentences in three cases, one of which Miles pleaded guilty to in July and two that she pleaded guilty to on Tuesday. Three other cases were dropped, but restitution was owed in all six cases, Boone said.

The cases on which she was convicted were related to checks made payable to two fund-raising businesses and to a cheerleading organization.

"This sentence probably doesn't satisfy anyone," Boone said. "We can't throw the baby out with the bath water and we can't cut the baby in half."

Before Miles was sentenced, parent Kelli Sines asked Boone to think about the message his sentence will send to the "90-some girls" who "idolized her" and were negatively affected by her actions.

When given a chance to speak, Miles, who sobbed during three of the victims' statements, told Boone she wanted "to apologize to the court, to the victims and to the girls."

Miles' defense attorney, Eric Andrews, said Miles has been working 60 hours a week at bartending jobs since July and had $8,000 to pay in restitution on Tuesday.

Andrews said Miles might not qualify for work release because she works at bars and would not be a good candidate for home detention because she only has a cell phone.

Boone said that he would allow her to apply for work release, but said that if she cannot do work release she might become eligible for home detention.

Wendy Churchey, who said she is Miles' best friend, said the sentence was "very sad because she gave a lot to the community. She made a mistake. She gave a lot to those girls before she gave to her own."

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