Man receives lewd conduct sentence

Firefighter gets up to life in prison for sex with minors

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COEUR d'ALENE - A former North Idaho firefighter on Wednesday was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for having sex with two different minors over the course of several years.

Billy E. Miller Jr., of Athol, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of lewd conduct with a minor.

Miller, 38, had been working as a lieutenant for Northern Lakes Fire District before being arrested in May.

Miller was sentenced by 1st District Court Judge John Luster, who said Miller committed a "horrendous crime" over eight to nine years and did "immeasurable harm" to the two female victims.

Luster said this case was "particularly heinous" because Miller used positions of trust to commit his crimes.

Prior to the sentence being handed down, the mother of the two victims took the witness stand and said, "I think he should die. I don't think anyone who does this to an innocent child should live."

The mother said her two teenage daughters turned to alcohol and drugs to cope.

"He knew what he was doing and he did it repeatedly," the mother told Luster. "He's just a monster ... I need you to protect the kids."

Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Art Verharen said Miller committed "repeated and prolonged sexual abuse." He recommended 20 years to life in prison.

Miller had sex with one of the victims hundreds of times.

"People trust firefighters," Verharen said. Miller also is a father of three daughters and a husband.

His defense attorney, Brad Chapman, said Miller sought to protect the victims from testifying in court.

"Mr. Miller refused to have me put the state's case to a test," Chapman said.

Miller himself declined to comment during his sentencing hearing.

Miller was terminated by the fire district on May 24.

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