Both sides rest in penalty phase of Everett Miller trial
Miller convicted of murder in deaths of 2 Kissimmee officers
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The penalty phase for Everett Miller, the man convicted of killing two Kissimmee Police Department officers, resumed Tuesday.
Closing arguments could start on Wednesday.
In September, Miller was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Sam Howard.
The jury will recommend if Miller gets life in prison or the death penalty.
Court proceedings began Tuesday with state prosecutors showing members of the jury pictures and videos of Baxter and Howard in an attempt to illustrate that the two officers were family men who loved their careers and their community.
Then, the defense called clinical psychologist Robert Cohen, who discussed Miller's two tours in Afghanistan and three tours in Iraq. He said Miller was reluctant to accept the impact being deployed had on his mental health.
He said he believes Miller was having PTSD symptoms at the time of the shooting.
"I believe that he was suffering from PTSD and had been for quite some time," Cohen said.
Cohen told the jury Miller met the criteria for PTSD, especially serving several tours overseas. He said it appeared Miller buried his emotions and never got help until his family pushed him too shortly before the murders happened.
"He’s been trying to see someone since January and he has reduced interest in things, depression, anxiety, mood," said Dr. Cohen.
Prosecutors called on their own expert witness, a different psychologist said Miller was really more of an alcoholic, a marijuana abuser.
The psychologist said Miller was stressed after losing his job and breaking up with his girlfriend.
"Mr Miller is capable of symptoms, exaggerating things, or painting a picture that is manipulative to convince people that he’s other than he really is," said Dr. Michael Gamache.
State prosecutors also questioned the accuracy of a test given to Miller by Dr. Cohen trying to gauge Miller’s mental state at the time of the murders.
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