A former Pennsylvania State Police Trooper pleaded guilty in court on Thursday to shooting his pregnant wife in 2014, which he claimed was an accident while cleaning his gun.
PEOPLE reports that Joseph Paul Miller was convicted of two counts of involuntary manslaughter after he shot his wife, JoAnna Miller, on March 2014 while inside their East Norriton Township home. Paramedics rushed the victim to a hospital. Physicians performed an emergency C-section on Joanna, but she was just 24 weeks pregnant. Both mom and baby passed away.
Miller told detectives he accidentally shot his wife in the head taking apart his gun to clean it. He said the gun accidentally discharged and hit his wife while in the family room of the home. At first, he said he was around 10 feet away when the gun went off, but he later changed his story and said he was around two feet away from his wife when he accidentally shot the gun. Ballistics and forensics tests confirmed that Miller was actually around three to six inches away from his wife when the shooting occurred.
“I, ah, was cleaning. I was about to clean my gun, and I didn’t realize there was a round … I shot my wife,” Miller said to a 911 dispatcher.
Tim Woodward, Miller’s attorney, said his client currently has custody of his two older children while awaiting sentencing. The lawyer also said that Miller is “devastated” by what happened and although he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, Miller misses his wife daily.
“He’s devastated, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t miss his wife,” Woodward told The Morning Call. “This is an unspeakable tragedy, the consequences of which will remain with Joe the rest of his life.”
Miller faces anywhere from five to 10 years in prison.
Court records indicate that JoAnna Miller was going through children’s clothes and preparing to give them to charities when she was shot. She planned to name her baby, a son, Gillian.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]