More than four years after her husband was gunned down by Everett Glenn Miller, Sadia Baxter told a judge Monday that she and her daughters forgive the killer.
"One of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life is to forgive someone who does not apologize," she said during a sentencing hearing at the Osceola County Courthouse. "... We'll forgive because if we do not forgive, we make those who hurt us the center of our lives, and it only hurts us. We miss out on joy and peace - and I will not raise my girls to carry pain or unforgiveness in their hearts."
Miller, 49, faces the possibility of the death penalty after being convicted in the 2017 killings of Kissimmee police Officer Matthew Baxter, 26, and Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard, 36. At his 2019 trial, jurors unanimously recommended that the Marine Corps veteran be sentenced to death.
Circuit Judge Greg A. Tynan will hear additional evidence from defense attorneys this week before deciding whether to follow the jury's recommendation or sentence Miller to life in prison. Prosecutors called two of Matthew Baxter's family members to testify about the impact the murders had on their lives before resting their case Monday.
Prosecutors say Miller killed the two cops in a "cold, calculated and premeditated fashion due to anti-government beliefs."
Baxter was conducting a routine check on three people the night of Aug. 18, 2017, near Cypress and Palmway streets when Miller suddenly drove up and started arguing with him for "messing with his people," according to a witness.
Baxter called Howard, his superior officer, to the scene. After an argument, Miller ambushed the two cops, shooting each of them in the head and face, prosecutors said.
He was later arrested at a bar on Orange Blossom Trail.
Miller's defense attorneys have argued the veteran had post-traumatic stress disorder that eventually led to a mental breakdown during the summer of 2017. A month before the shooting, he was involuntarily committed under Florida's Baker Act for running in the streets with a high-powered rifle while wearing only boxers.