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Arraignment delayed for man charged in Hagerstown woman's stabbing death

September 01, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Jeffrey E. Miles Sr. arrives Wednesday at the Franklin County Courthouse for his arraignment on a criminal homicide charge.
Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A State Line, Pa., man charged with criminal homicide in the April 3 stabbing death of a Hagerstown woman appeared briefly in court Wednesday for the first time since prosecutors filed paperwork necessary to seek the death penalty against him.

Jeffrey E. Miles Sr., 47, was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday afternoon, but Franklin County (Pa.) Court Judge Douglas Herman cited the seriousness of the case in saying he wanted to reschedule the arraignment for a day when he had more time.

At full arraignment, Herman said he'd explain the charge, the effects of the notice of aggravating circumstances filed this week by the district attorney's office, the defendant's rights to file motions and the timeline for how the case would continue.

"Today is not a day the court has time to fulfill the arraignment as needed in your case," Herman said to Miles.

Herman did not reschedule the arraignment, but said he'd soon issue an order containing the new date.

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The notice of aggravating circumstances alleges the homicide occurred during acts of torture, during the commission of a felony and during felony drug delivery, District Attorney Matt Fogal said Tuesday. It also alleges Miles committed homicide with the knowledge the victim, Kristy Dawn Hoke, 29, was a confidential government informant, Fogal said.

In Pennsylvania, the notice must be filed at or before arraignment if the prosecution wants to seek the death penalty, Assistant District Attorney Eric Augustine said.

"Every homicide is not a death penalty case," he said.

The decision to seek the death penalty came after a careful review of the evidence, Fogal said.

Augustine said Miles not will face any additional criminal charges in the Hoke case.

Public Defender Mike Toms would not talk about the case after court dismissed.

Herman made a comment to the prosecution and defense that he assumed they were not aware of his desire to reschedule. Both Augustine and Toms responded they wanted to ensure the delay wouldn't be held against them under Pennsylvania's Criminal Code "Rule 600" for a prompt trial.

Herman said the decision was his own.

"I think we're going to get this scheduled in a short period of time," he said.

Pennsylvania State Police said information gathered during the investigation into Hoke's death led them to find the remains of Angie Daley, who was 17 when she was reported missing in 1995. Her skeletal remains were found April 6 on a farm in southern Franklin County, a few hours after Hoke's body was found in a wooded portion of Waynesboro, Pa., borough.

No one has been criminally charged in Daley's death.

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