Justin Miller sentenced for killing Mercedes Lain

NOW: Justin Miller sentenced for killing Mercedes Lain

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PLYMOUTH, Ind. -- Just a little over six months have passed since Justin Miller was arrested in the disappearance of Mercedes Lain-- and today, after pleading guilty-- he will serve sixty-five years in prison. 

“He took away a precious soul from us," said Angie Owens, Lain's maternal grandmother. "It’s just painful.”

Miller filed a plea agreement with the Starke County Prosecutor's Office just before Christmas, and pleaded guilty to the murder of Mercedes Lain shortly before the new year. 

Hoover argued that Miller's cooperation with authorities in finding Lain's body should factor into a lighter sentence, per his plea agreement. 

"Without him deciding to aid the police investigation, we likely wouldn’t know where her body ever was in the first place," Hoover said. 

Owens read a letter to Miller, illustrating the pain she and her family have gone through since Mercedes's death, saying that Miller took everything from her, and everything her family had hoped to enjoy with her. 

Judge Hall handed down the sentence around noon.

“What you did on this day when you killed this baby, was an act that is as bad as a human can commit," he said. "A human adult to take the life of a baby. That identifies you as the worst criminal there can be. The court imposes the maximum of sixty-five years with none suspended.”

“I felt good that he got the sixty-five, that he got the max," she said. "I’m very proud of Kim Hall for doing that.”

“It’s going to be a long road ahead, but one day at a time," added Owens. 


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