Accused mother killer set for June trial

Becky Campbell • Jan 3, 2013 at 2:35 PM

A man charged with killing his mother nearly four years ago is now scheduled for trial, and a judge released him from bond supervision because he’s doing so well.

Codey Miller, 19, is charged with first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse for the May 2009 strangulation death of his mother, 36-year-old Sherry Cooper. Investigators and prosecutors also say he had sex with his mother’s corpse then dumped her into a large trash can to be picked up by sanitation workers.

The case has been stalled for a while, but Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp said he wanted to get it back on track.

“I’m going to set it for trial,” he said. The case is scheduled for trial June 3, and attorneys said they expect it could take a week to try.

The case has been in limbo for the better part of a year, partly because of the state working on Miller’s codefendant’s case. Chris Johnson was charged alongside Miller, but pleaded guilty in June to tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

He was sentenced to eight years of probation and released the same day he pleaded guilty. As part of his plea agreement, Johnson must testify at Miller’s trial.

Miller, originally charged as a juvenile because it happened when he was 17, is free on a $100,000 bond, posted by relatives in December 2011 following a significant ruling in his favor by Cupp. He threw out the statement Miller gave to Johnson City police investigators — a statement in which he confessed to killing his mother — on the basis that it was coerced.

In his ruling 13 months ago suppressing the statement, Cupp blasted police for the way the interrogation was conducted.

After Thursday’s brief hearing, Miller’s attorney, Public Defender Jeff Kelly, said his client has “maintained his innocence,” throughout the proceedings and only confessed when he thought police would let him go home.

Since his release, Miller has been on bond monitoring. That means the probation department keeps tabs on him to make sure he’s following all the rules of being on bond.

Miller has had no problems since his release, so Cupp decided to take him off bond monitoring.

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