Guilty plea in the 1988 murder of 8-year-old girl



FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WTHR) — Friday morning, 59-year-old John Miller changed his plea to guilty in the murder of little April Tinsley.

Miller pleaded guilty to murder and child molesting during the hearing. If the judge accepts the deal he will face a maximum of 80 years in prison. 50 years of the sentence is for murder 30 years is for child molesting.

During the hearing, Miller read a prepared statement saying he abducted 8-year-old April Tinsley, had sexual intercourse with her and strangled her with his bare hands.

April’s mother was in the courtroom Friday. She cried as Miller was admitting what he did.

It was 1988, when the 8-year-old was found in a rural drainage ditch.

As three generations of detectives searched for the killer, he taunted them, twice leaving messages and more clues to his identity.

“I watched folks work on this case tirelessly they did an outstanding job,” said Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed.

They worked without results until recent advancements in DNA comparisons and the science of genetic genealogy helped police zero in on Miller.

When they arrested Miller at his home, police said the 59-year-old admitted abducting, sexually assaulting, and killing April.

Miller was supposed to be in court for a change of venue hearing Friday when he switched his plea to guilty.

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