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More charges in Melton murder

Posted: December 30, 2011 3:49 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Nickolas Jermaine Miller, 23, of Jefferson, the man accused of the abduction, rape and murder of Beverly Hope Melton, 30, of Kershaw, now faces additional charges filed by the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO).

Sheriff Jim Matthews said Friday morning his office is adding charges of kidnapping and sexual assault to its portion of the case. Miller is already charged with murder by the KCSO and by the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) with one count each of kidnapping and sexual assault.

“The kidnapping charge is because she was not free to leave his car once they were in Kershaw County,” Matthews said.

He said KCSO investigators believe one of Miller’s sexual assaults of Melton took place at the murder scene on Sandy Grove Road in Kershaw County’s Mt. Pisgah community. That belief led to the additional sexual assault charge.

Miller is accused of following Melton from a Jefferson convenience store, somehow stopping her car on Chesterfield County’s Angelus Road, abducting her, sexually assaulting her at least twice and then beating her to death with a baseball bat. So far, the closest thing to a motive Matthews has described is that Miller stated in his confession to CCSO deputies and Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker that he had recently been fired from a department store and kicked out by his girlfriend.

Matthews repeated his call for 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson to seek the death penalty against Miller.

“We are methodically taking the steps necessary to prepare this for a death penalty prosecution. We hope (Johnson) does the right thing,” Matthews said.

The sheriff said death penalty cases are expensive, costing taxpayers as much as $80,000 each.

“And we’re both underfunded,” he said of his and Johnson’s offices. “Criminal justice doesn’t come cheap, but I hope that doesn’t play a role if we don’t have a death penalty trial. I hope that doesn’t drive the decision.”

In a statement relayed through a spokesperson, Johnson said he is still looking at the Miller case.

“We have spoken with the sheriff, and I am going to thoroughly evaluate the case, and then act appropriately.  It would be premature to announce a decision on that issue at this time,” Johnson said.

It turns out Matthews asked Johnson to seek the death penalty in another case earlier this year. In early February, KCSO investigators arrested Brian Franklin Evans, 45, of Lancaster County, charging him with two counts of murder. Evans is awaiting trial on charges he beat and shot 59-year-old Jerry Wayne Geiger multiple times and strangled his estranged wife, 60-year-old Elizabeth Marie Evans. Geiger’s body was found in his Mt. Pisgah-area home; Elizabeth Evans’ body was found in a wooded area on Flat Rock Road off U.S. 521.

Johnson’s office said a decision regarding the death penalty in this case also has not been  made.

Sheriff Parker did not return several calls requesting additional information about the CCSO’s involvement in the Miller case.

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