The courtroom today was well filled with over 65 Anabaptist believers plus a few journalists. More people arrived from PA and VA; also a few from VT were again present. The prosecution had little visible support. Before the jury was called in, the judge gave direction that Janet Jenkin’s anticipated testimony should be kept brief because this case is not seeking to resolve the child custody issues. The focus of the trial should remain on the issues of Ken’s alleged crime. We then finished watching Timo’s deposition from December. Timo said that there had been no organized plan but that events simply unfolded as individuals related to the situation. Timo was cross-examined on the deposition, but it was a disadvantage to the prosecution that he was not present today to be cross-examined.
Next, Andy Yoder, presently from OH, but previously field director for CAM in Nicaragua, gave a very clear and honest testimony. He answered questions about CAM’s work in Nicaragua, about his involvement with the Lisa Miller case, and about evidence that he took $500 cash to Nicaragua for Timo. He spoke about CAM’s refusal to involve themselves with helping Lisa Miller, testifying that CAM was sympathetic to her case, but didn’t want to jeopardize all their other projects for Lisa. He stated that he didn’t know if helping Lisa was illegal, but he preferred to follow CAM’s directive since he was working for them. He said there was not a lot communication between him and Timo about Lisa. He also said Timo believed his actions were legal.
After this a US Marshall from Burlington testified that he arrested Ken in Burlington. This testimony was necessary because the prosecution is seeking to validate the trial taking place in Burlington rather than VA. Under cross-examination he also testified that Ken came to Burlington voluntarily to be arrested and said he was not aware that Ken had committed any crimes in VT.
Janet Jenkins was then called as a witness. She stated that by occupation she is a licensed child care provider, and gave testimony about her and Lisa’s relationship and their plan to have a family. She said they planned for Isabella to be born in VT, but she was born prematurely in VA. Efforts to have a second child ended in a miscarriage. Under cross examination she acknowledged that initially after their separation Lisa had allowed regular visits with Isabella and that those visits continued for a time even after the custody case was in court. She became somewhat emotional when referring to the lack of visits with Isabella. After her testimony Janet stayed in the courtroom until lunch break but was not present in the afternoon court sessions.
Doug Wright, pastor of Keystone Baptist Church in VA, testified that Lisa and her brother Chris had been members of their church, that Isabella attended preschool there, and that they took care of Isabella while Lisa was working as a teacher. He testified that Chris left VA to go to seminary in Sept. 2009 and shortly after that he received a call from Lisa. He met them in a Wal-Mart parking lot because she and Isabella wanted to say goodbye to him. He said Lisa was not wearing Mennonite clothes at the time. He also gave testimony about a phone call from Ken Miller on Nov. 20, 2009 in which he agreed to arrange helpers to clear out Lisa’s vacant house and provide money to pay the rent that was due.
In the afternoon a banker gave testimony about understanding check records and verifying bank transactions.
Elaine Cooper (Timo’s mother-in-law) was called to give testimony about Timo’s use of her credit card. She said Timo did not have a credit card and would occasionally use hers with permission and later reimburse her. She verified granting permission for Timo to use her credit card to purchase airline tickets in Sept. 2009 and also verified receiving two money orders from an unknown source as reimbursement.
A US postal investigator gave testimony to help jurors understand the function of money orders and verified details of the 2 money orders on record. He said they were purchased in Stuarts Draft, VA.
At this point the jury was dismissed temporarily so the judge could make some rulings about how the case should proceed from here. I’m not sure I fully understand all the issues they discussed but will give what understanding I have. The defense asked the judge to acquit Ken on the basis that some testimony had given evidence that there was not a definite intent to break the law. The judge agreed that such testimony had been given but said that other testimony had been given as well and the jury should make the decision. The judge also declined to rule on the issue of whether venue is appropriate in VT but said he would raise the issue to the jury for a decision. For legal reasons I do not fully understand, the prosecution was asking the judge to prohibit the defense from calling witnesses to give testimony about Ken’s character. The judge overruled this and said the law allows and even supports some character witnesses in a case like this, but that they should seek to avoid linking it with religious issues. The judge denied introducing Timo’s cooperation agreement into the case. He said he would review information Timo gave to the Grand Jury and rule later about whether it could be introduced.
After the jury returned to the room, the defense called Linda Rose Miller of Golden Rule Travel to witness again. She testified that she knew Ken well, that he was humble, honest, and law-abiding, that he was honest about his short-comings and a man of integrity. She said her testimony was based on conversations with him and observations of his life.
Ivan Beachy of Free Union, VA, bishop, and secretary-treasurer of AMA gave testimony that he had known Ken for 25 yrs. He said on a scale of 1 to 10 Ken was a 6 or 7 in closeness to him. He said Ken was absolutely a man of character, unpretentious, and very authentic, and that he was honest and trustworthy. “What you see is what you get” was his description of Ken. He said his knowledge came from meeting Ken and hearing him teach at minister’s meetings and from associating in church work and church social gatherings on a frequent basis.
My understanding is that there are perhaps no other witnesses to be called by the defense, but I could be wrong about this. Mr. Autry, Ken’s lawyer, said he would give the judge an answer on Monday (even though there is no court on Monday) about whether Ken will take the witness stand in his own defense. Please pray about this decision. Mr. Autry also told us that the trial could well be finished on Tuesday or Wednesday.
External link added by Mark Roth:
Miller Case: Trial Day Three