The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Miller freed from prison after 16 years


Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

DONALD MILLER appears in Iron County Court Monday afternoon.

HURLEY - A 53-year-old former Oma, Wis,, man was freed from a 42-year prison sentence Monday in Iron County Court.

Donald Miller, who had been sentenced on a first-degree sexual assault with a dangerous weapon count in 1998, had that charge amended to a third-degree sexual assault charge, which carries a nine-year sentence.

Since Miller has served 5,913 days in prison and jail, or more than 16 years, that exceeds the nine-year sentence and he'll be released for time served.

In 1997, an Iron County jury convicted Miller on a host of counts and Judge Patrick Madden issued the 42-year sentence, including 30 years for the sexual assault.

"I'd like to thank you, Judge, very much," Miller said Monday afternoon.

Madden accepted the conditions of a stipulation agreed to by Miller's attorney, John Pray, and Iron County District Attorney Marty Lipske.

"I think it's a fair and just settlement of this case," Pray told the court.

Miller entered a no contest plea to the third-degree sexual assault with threat of a weapons charge and will be on parole for five years. He will live with his parents, must not contact the victim of the assault, and won't be able to consume alcohol. He must report to a parole officer.

Miller will not be able to seek a trial on the third-degree sex count as part of the stipulation.

Pray told the court had an agreement not been reached, litigation could have been lengthy.

Madden, who had earlier turned down a similar request for post-conviction relief, said he had reviewed the court file. He said amending the charge would be "in the best interest of the victim," while allowing the "best opportunity to meet the (court's) original intent that Miller engage in rehabilitation."

Miller was taken to the Iron County Jail after the hearing, pending the Department of Corrections delivering documents to the parole and probation department here.

Pray said after the hearing that he expected Miller to be out of jail in less than 24 hours.

Miller, a former Ironwood businessman, had been incarcerated in the New Lisbon Correctional Institute.

The case drew widespread attention through a "Free Don Miller" Internet site and weekly Internet radio broadcasts urging that he be released.

Under the original sentence, Miller would have been eligible for parole after serving 28 years, or around 2026.


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