Paul Miller, Accused Flagler Beach
Murderer, Scheduled for Trial Feb. 25
FlaglerLive | December 5, 2012
Paul Miller, who faces a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Dana Mulhall during an argument in March, will go on trial on Feb. 25, or that week, based on a pre-trail appearance in court today.
Miller, looking relaxed and smiling on a few occasions, appeared alongside his defense lawyer before Judge David Walsh this afternoon. Miller has been out on $300,000 bail since mid-May. He’d been at the Flagler County jail for two months after the March 14 shooting, looking wan and slumped in his orange jail jump suit in previous court appearances. Today, he had the demeanor of a man facing nothing significantly more serious than a traffic infraction.
The evening of March 14, Mulhall and Miller, who were next-door neighbors on South Flagler Avenue in Flagler Beach, had been arguing over Miller’s barking dogs, across Miller’s fence. It wasn’t their first argument. Words and threats were allegedly exchanged. Miller claims he saw Mulhall reach behind him as if for a weapon, so Miller, who’d earlier gone into his house to retrieve a gun and sat on his porch, waiting for Mulhall to reappear, took out his guns and fired five shots, in slow succession. Four of the bullets struck Mulhall as Mulhall was turning away, then crawling away, from Miller, according to prosecutors’ descriptions of the incident during a bond hearing earlier this year. Mulhall died at the scene, a few feet from his door. He was unarmed.
Moore-Stens told the judge that depositions in the case were scheduled for Jan. 15, so Miller was not yet ready for trial. She also filed a motion requesting a certified linguist for Miller, saying he is indigent. In a previous court appearance on Miller’s behalf, Moore-Stens had intimated that Miller’s defense might rely on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. But Williams–Moore-Stens’s partner–in a subsequent interview would not discuss the coming strategy. Mulhall never crossed the fence or step onto Miller’s property, and by Miller’s own description of the events of March 14, had backed away from Miller’s fence, after shaking it, and after Miller told him to stop.
“We’re ready for trial,” Mark Johnson, an assistant state attorney, told the judge.
It was an unusual court date in a few regards: State Attorney R.J. Larizza was himself in the courtroom–not because of any one particular case, he said, but because, after winning reelection earlier this year, he was interested in visiting courtrooms throughout the district. Walsh is replacing Judge Raul Zambrano, who’d presided on the Miller case until now, but is moving to a bench in West Volusia. Melissa Moore-Stens was representing Miller, as she has on one previous occasion, though she was standing in for Miller’s attorney of record, Douglas Williams. Moore-Stens will herself be removing herself from this and all other cases starting January 8 after winning election to be Flagler’s next county judge.
Miller’s next court date will be Feb. 6, for pre-trial. Miller was 65 at the time of the shooting. He turned 66 on Sept. 19.