Teen gets 7 life prison sentences
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 02, 2004
8/27/08 at 7:36 AM
A plea agreement spares Darrel Ray Miller from a possible death penalty.
A teenager received seven consecutive life prison sentences Friday for a
string of 2003 robberies and shootings
that included the murder of a Tulsa
A plea agreement spared Darrel
Ray Miller from a possible death penalty, and uncertainty about whether
the U.S. Supreme Court will continue
to allow the execution of defendants
who committed murder at age 17 was
a major factor in that resolution.
Miller, who is now 18, pleaded
guilty to one count of first-degree
murder, three counts of shooting with
intent to kill and three counts of
In accordance with the plea agreement, District Judge Jesse Harris sentenced Miller to life in
prison without the possibility of
parole for the murder of Stanley
Paul Silkey, a 30-year-old assistant store manager who was
shot in the head on Aug. 6,
2003, at a Git-n-Go at 4826 E.
The six other life terms technically do not preclude the possibility of parole, but Harris told
Miller that "I certainly anticipate
you will never be free again."
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris filed notice last
November that he planned to
seek the death penalty for Miller, who was 17 when Silkey
Prosecutors maintained then
that two "aggravating circumstances" existed to justify that
Miller was a "continuing
threat to society," who murdered Silkey in order to avoid
or prevent an arrest or prosecution, that filing by Harris alleged.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced in January that it will
decide whether the Constitution
forbids the execution of murderers who were 17 when they
committed their crimes.
The high court accepted an
appeal of a 2003 decision by the
Missouri Supreme Court, which
overturned a death verdict for a
defendant of that status.
The U.S. Supreme Court will
hear arguments this fall on
whether the death penalty for
17-year-old killers violates constitutional prohibitions against
"cruel and unusual" punishment.
The high court's ruling is expected in 2005, lawyers say.
The district attorney indicated
that he thinks the Supreme
Court's decision is a close call,
and that "weighed heavily" in
the decision to drop the death
penalty request in a plea negotiation.
With Friday's disposition,
"there are no appeals," Tim
Harris said. This gives Silkey's
family "some closure to this violent crime that took their loved
Nadine Silkey, the slain man's
mother, said she is satisfied
with the court outcome for Miller.
"Life without parole gets him
convicted and keeps him in
jail," Nadine Silkey said. "He is
in there to stay."
She said concern that "the
Supreme Court is about to do
away with the death penalty" for
people in Miller's age category
was a strong factor in her acceptance of a resolution that
will avoid any possibility of multiple trials.
Tim Harris said if a Tulsa
County jury had imposed the
death penalty, a ruling by the
Supreme Court in future years
to block executions of defendants who murdered at age 17
could have meant "you're back
at square one" and facing a new
"The evidence was strong"
against Miller, and "I think he
deserves the ultimate punishment," the district attorney said.
Miller offered an apology in
court Friday. Assistant Public
Defender Sid Conway, representing Miller, said she thinks
he is "truly remorseful."
"He has owned up to everything he did," Conway said. "I
hope for everyone's sake, there
can be some healing."
Nadine Silkey said she hasn't
seen remorse from Miller during prior court appearances.
The case was set for trial in
January. Judge Harris previously
had refused to delay the trial
until the Supreme Court rules
in the Missouri case.
Miller also pleaded guilty Friday to robberies and shootings
in June and July 2003 -- in
cases where employees were
wounded -- at a Stop & Save
store at 5950 S. 33rd West Ave.,
at the Corner Stop at 449 S.
Sheridan Road, and at the Priscilla's store at 11344 E. 11th St.
Miller's co-defendant on two
counts, Heather Gale Sanders,
received a 10-year term in December as a "youthful offender."
Sanders said she drove Miller
from the scene of two robberies, including the one that
proved fatal for Silkey. She
pleaded guilty to robbery and
accessory counts, and she is expected to be released from custody by her 20th birthday in
December 2005, if she follows
an Office of Juvenile Affairs
Miller previously lived in Tulsa, but had stayed with Sanders
in Bristow prior to his arrest 13
months ago, records show.
Bill Braun 581-8455