LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Sixteen-year-old Claire Miller, who was arrested for the murder of her sister in 2021, will be tried as an adult, a Lancaster judge decided on Monday.
The decision by Lancaster County Judge David R. Workman was confirmed by the Office of the District Attorney of Lancaster County.
Miller was 14 years old when she was arrested for stabbing her 19-year-old wheelchair-bound sister Helen to death in February 2021.
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Miller’s defense argued that as a now-16-year-old, she would be better suited for a juvenile treatment facility.
“If she’s not treated as an adult or held in a state prison, she has a high chance of reoffending,” Assistant District Attorney Amy Muller argued during the final day of the hearing.
In his opinion, Judge Workman mentioned the victim as vulnerable and defenseless, with a cognitive disability in cerebral palsy and inability to move without assistance. The parents were also considered as victims and Workman mentioned their desire to support Claire and see her get treatment for her mental health.
The District Attorney’s office says Muller presented evidence that Claire Miller allegedly texted a group of friends admitting to killing her sister and before calling police, turned off the family’s alarm system, threw or otherwise placed her phone into a neighbor’s snowbank after calling 911, and made multiple callous statements to police in the subsequent interview after the homicide.
Any homicide charge in Pennsylvania begins in adult court but can be petitioned to juvenile court, where greater emphasis is placed on treatment, which is what Miller’s defense was hoping would happen.
In May 2021, Miller pleaded not guilty to the charges related to her sister’s death.