A former Pennsylvania State Police Trooper has pled guilty to the deaths of his wife and unborn child in 2014, which he claimed was accidental.
Joseph Paul Miller pled guilty on Thursday to two counts of involuntary manslaughter for causing the deaths of his wife, JoAnna Miller, and the baby girl she was pregnant with at the time, while he was cleaning his gun, according to the Associated Press.
Miller’s wife was taken to the hospital in critical condition while she was given an emergency cesarean section, according to the Montgomery Colonial. She was given an emergency cesarean, but the 24-week-old baby and the mother died after surgery.
Miller, 36, faces a maximum of 5 to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in the coming months, according to CBS Philadelphia.
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Miller told investigators he had been taking apart a gun he owned in the family room to clean it when it discharged, according to the AP.
He initially said the gun was about 10 feet away from his wife when it accidentally went off, but he later revised that distance to about 2 feet away. Prosecutors, however, said ballistics and forensics tests showed the gun was only 3 to 6 inches from his wife’s head when it fired, and they charged him.
In a 911 call he said: “I, ah, was cleaning. I was about to clean my gun, and I didn’t realize there was a round … I shot my wife.” Miller’s children can also be heard in the background of the call, reports CBS Philadelphia.
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Miller’s defense attorney Tim Woodward told the AP that Miller had resigned from the state police.
Miller remains out on bail and maintains custody of the couple’s two other children while he waits to be sentenced in Montgomery County.