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Magnolia man gets 60 days in jail for assaulting deputy

| June 5, 2024
Andrew Sears Miller listens to his attorney, Eugene O'Byrne at a sentencing hearing Tuesday. Tuscarawas County Sheriff Deputy Stephanie Donley sits behind him along with victim advocate Annie Helter.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 5, 2024) – A 29-year-old Magnolia man will spend 60 days in jail then two years on probation for assaulting a Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Deputy in his Hilltop Drive home on July 4th last year.

Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest sentenced Andrew Sears Miller Tuesday after an emotional hearing with testimony from the defendant, his mother and the deputy he assaulted.

Deputy Stephanie Donley provided a harrowing account of the confrontation with a man around twice her size who was drunk and enraged.

Sears Miller’s mother said she called the cops that day after family members could not calm Sears Miller.

Donley said at one point it seemed the situation deescalated when Sears Miller went to the basement, and she relaxed. She said that’s when he barreled upstairs from the basement, grabbed her and pushed her, “slamming” Donley into the refrigerator and a sliding door.

“After many failed attempts of joint manipulation, knee strikes, elbow strikes, etc., the fight went to the ground. With much assistance from Andrew’s brother … I was able to keep Andrew on the ground waiting for backup to arrive. I attempted to reach down to radio out, but I discovered my radio had been ripped away from me.”

She says time seemed to move slowly as she waited for backup.

“Eight minutes is how long I fought and fought and fought. Eight minutes of struggle to keep a positive mindset after failed attempt, failed attempt, failed attempt. Eight minutes … I thought that the last time I had talked to my dad would have been my last. Eight minutes I thought, ‘This is it. I’m going to die today.’”

Prosecutor Scott Deedrick said Donley’s physical injuries were limited, but he believes she suffers from PTSD.

“Fortunately, physically, the only thing that she has had is she has had continued bother of her wrist, but I think it has had a profound effect on her psychologically.”

Both attorneys said the incident was not characteristic for Sears Miller, who in court Tuesday said he was arrogant and rude that day and had too much to drink.

“I definitely would never cause harm to someone’s life. That’s not right in any way, shape or form. That’s not who I am. I am sorry for what I did. I definitely consumed way too much alcohol that day; made some bad judgment calls.”

His defense attorney asked for no time behind bars, mentioning Sears Miller’s service in the military and his otherwise clean record. Ernest said jail time was called for.

“It was completely over the top. There is no reason as to why he would have had to go off on the deputy who was just simply responding to a call.”

Ernest said he spared Sears Miller from going to prison because he had no previous criminal record.

Ernest ordered him to have no alcohol or contact with Deputy Donley during his two years of probation. A violation would land Sears Miller in prison for 6 to 18 months.

Sears Miller was handcuffed and taken to jail immediately after the sentencing hearing. He had pleaded guilty to assault, a fourth-degree felony, and two misdemeanors in April. Prosecutors dropped a first-degree felonious assault charge.

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