Miles getting new attorney in capital murder case

July 29, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr. leaves the Franklin County (Pa.) Courthouse in this file photo.
Herald-Mail file photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Defense team changes are in the works for a former State Line, Pa., man awaiting trial in a capital murder case.

Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas Judge Douglas Herman recently signed an order releasing Public Defender Mike Toms from Jeffrey E. Miles Sr.’s case. Now, attorney Kristen Hamilton will become Eric Weisbrod’s co-counsel at a rate of $75 an hour paid by the county.

Miles’ trial in the April 2010 stabbing death of Kristy Dawn Hoke is scheduled for three weeks in February 2013. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because they say the Hagerstown woman was a police informant.

Miles, 49, is charged with criminal homicide in Hoke’s death, but also is charged with criminal homicide in the 1995 bludgeoning death of Waynesboro, Pa., teenager Angie Lynn Daley. The two cases are being tried separately, with a preliminary hearing for Daley’s homicide scheduled for Sept. 17.

For months, Miles has complained about Toms regarding an apparent personality conflict. He writes in a self-authored April 26 court filing that Toms’ “mere existing presence” causes him a host of issues, including anger, anxiety, sleeplessness and elevated blood pressure.

Effectiveness of counsel was just one of Miles’ complaints enumerated in court motions. He has filed petitions related to habeas corpus — the defendant asking to be brought to court so the prosecution must justify his detention — and speedy trial provisions.

In one court filing from May, Miles claims “inordinate delay; denial of a speedy trial; harassment, bad faith and other intentional activities by the commonwealth,” as well as “failure to conduct any hearings or rule on merits of petitioners’ pretrial motions.” He references “alleged violations of the 6th and 14th Amendment rights to a speedy trial and due process.”

“The commonwealth has failed to follow set procedures in (my) prosecution. ... The commonwealth keeps delaying trial to gain a tactical advantage, and to exhaust and wear me out,” Miles wrote.

Miles — who alleges he was not notified of his right to an attorney when waiving his preliminary hearing in the Hoke case — asks that charges be dismissed and he be released immediately from custody.

He claims delays are being used by prosecutors to find more evidence.

“I am sick and tired of being ‘stuck in limbo.’ It’s like I’m neither dead or alive,” Miles wrote. “I mean, I’ve been made to sit YEARS (plural and literally) in a cage, with my liberty to travel restricted.”

He laments dealing with mentally ill inmates on his cell block and the “various attitudes” of correctional officers. He writes that his incarceration in the Franklin County Jail is “extremely oppressive.”

A hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, to discuss jury selection.

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