KISSIMMEE, Fla. – After less than two hours of deliberating, a jury on Wednesday found Everett Miller guilty of fatally shooting two Kissimmee officers in 2017.
The verdict was delivered shortly before noon. Before it was read, the judge cautioned those in the courtroom to refrain from any emotional outbursts.
Miller was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kissimmee Police Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard on Aug. 17, 2017.
Baxter's wife, sister and mother were present in the courtroom for the reading of the verdict. They spoke after court was dismissed for the day to thank the community and the prosecutors.
Sadia Baxter said it's been tough sitting in court day after day feet away from her husband's killer.
“My girls will never have their father, nothing can bring that back but along the way there will be people who support us… Although the void cannot be filled, we have so much love and support from the community, our family, our friends,” she said. "I have peace in my heart that God’s will was done today."
Sadia Baxter went on to say, "I ask for continuous prayers as we move forward to the penalty phase in November."
Baxter's mother said she's ready to start healing.
“And now, Matthew can rest,” she said.
“I have peace in my heart that God’s will was done.” - Officer Baxter’s wife, Sadia. pic.twitter.com/OOGlazZ5yr— Jerry Askin (@JerryAskinNews6) September 11, 2019
Miller faces the death penalty. The penalty phase of the trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 5.
Before deliberations began at about 10 a.m., a juror was removed and replaced with an alternate.
Miller's defense team called one witness Tuesday before closing arguments. Miller's sister was the only person to testify on his behalf.
Shavon Sutton told jurors that her brother changed after he left the military.
Sutton said he lost his job and his girlfriend and wasn't showering regularly in the months before the murders.
Sutton also said Miller would act jumpy and she'd have to announce herself when she walked into his room. She told jurors Miller felt someone was watching him.
After Sutton's testimony, the defense rested its case.
Miller chose not to take the stand.
Closing arguments began Tuesday afternoon after the judge read the 17-page jury instructions to jurors.