Family of Mercedes Lain upset over Justin Miller plea agreement
KNOX, Ind. -- Justin Miller-- the man accused of killing 11-month old Mercedes Lain, has been offered a plea agreement from the Starke County Prosecutor's Office. ABC57 does not know the details of the agreement just yet, as it's a locked document, according to the Starke County Clerk's Office, but Mercedes Lain's family doesn't want to see any agreement between Miller and the Prosecutor's Office.
Miller's plea agreement still has to be approved by the judge hearing his case, but Mercedes's grandmother, Angela Owens, says she feels blindsided by the agreement.
“It’s just not good enough to plea out like that," said Owens. "I just can’t see how the court’s going to accept a plea from him.”
Lain, who was 11-months old, was given to Miller to look after by her parents, Tiffany Coburn and Kenny Lain.
Miller claims he fell asleep on August 14, and when he woke up, baby Mercedes was dead, but a preliminary autopsy report showed she suffered from blunt force trauma to her head, and her death was ruled as a homicide.
Judge Kim Hall said a plea hearing has been set for Monday, December 20.
“I’m blown away, I don’t understand how," she said. "I guess for him, maybe a plea might be good, but a plea is just not good for us.”
And Owens herself said she wasn't even informed about the agreement-- she only just found out the morning before it was announced it court.
“I wish somebody would’ve let me know instead of getting on MyCase this morning at 5:30 and finding it on MyCase,” she said.
“I feel that he needs longer," said Owens. "I mean, an innocent child. My innocent grandchild. How could you just do that and expect, okay, you do forty-five years and get out and you’re fine? Where’s my baby at? Where’s her time? Where’s her life?”