Miller drug trial begins

November 21, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

LEXINGTON - The trial of David "Scott" Miller, a former Garrard County animal control officer accused of working for Michael Hays' multimillion dollar marijuana operation in Gravel Switch, began Wednesday in Federal District Court.

The jury saw video of a secret room beneath Hays' barn off Forkland Road, seven gallon-sized bags of marijuana seized from Hays' property, and heard testimony from a man who said he was Hays' best friend.

In his opening statements, Scott Miller's attorney, David Guarnieri, tried to attack the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses.

He told the jury that he would prove that this was a case of two families, the Hayses from Gravel Switch and the Millers from Lancaster. The families, he said, were pitted against one another after the Miller's patriarch, William Miller, shot the Hayses' patriarch, Michael Hays, in the back of the head at a gas station in Odon, Ind.

"As a result of that shooting the police found out about the marijuana and a murder, Rusty Marshall's murder," he said.


Guarnieri said that William Miller feared for his life.

Michael Hays has admitted that on Easter Sunday, days before he was shot, he found Rusty Marshall's body in a pool of blood in his kitchen when he returned from a trip to Syracuse, N.Y.

Guarnieri said that some of the witnesses were the same people that wrapped Marshall's body in plastic, tied it with bailing wire, put it in a horse trailer, covered it with grass and paid someone $250 to dig his grave in Odon, Ind.

Guarnieri didn't say who was hired to dig the grave.

"Everyone that comes to testify will have a motive for saying what they are saying," he said.

The Hayses and others, who competed in horse pulls with Hays and provided land for him to grow marijuana in Indiana and Wisconsin, have already pleaded guilty and will testify against Scott Miller.

"Michael Hays made a lot of money and had a lot of property," he said to the jury. "You are going to hear how Michael Hays' marijuana days came to an end because of my client's father."

William Miller pleaded guilty to charges that he worked on the marijuana farm, as has his daughter, Beverly Hall, and his son-in-law, Frank Hall.

Scott Miller, dressed in a gray suit and a cotton, black and gray striped shirt sat expressionless, during the statement.

First, U.S. Assistant Attorney Ron Walker called Jasper White, a state police narcotics investigator, to the stand.

He showed the jury marijuana police seized from Hays' house and barns off of Forkland Road near Gravel Switch and at the former Baker Farm, that Hays owned, two miles west of his house.

White pulled out five 1-gallon Ziploc bags filled with marijuana from a gray 5-gallon bucket and laid them on the witness stand. He also showed the jury two gallon-sized bags, one filled and one half-filled, with marijuana crumbs swept up at the Baker Farm during a Sept. 8 raid.

A video of the property, from a May raid, was shown of the Hays' house and barn in Gravel Switch. It showed a secret underground room, under Hays' barn, where White said marijuana plants were cloned. The red barn had a dirt floor, stables and an office. In a feed bin there was a trap door. When opened it revealed a narrow metal ladder that led to the room.

White pointed out, on the video, a storage shed behind Hays' house where police found marijuana in a freezer, cash in a safe and guns.

White said police also found a burned pile of marijuana at the farm.

When asked by Guarnieri, White said that Scott Miller's house was never searched.

Butch Beasley, a Lawrenceburg man, testified about the crop cycle at the farm.

Beasley, who makes $10,000 a year shoeing horses and milking cows, said that he had only seen marijuana on TV before he was hired by Hays.

He said he had been Hays' best friend for more than 15 years. He said he met Hays through horse pulling competitions, and that he shoed Hays' prized draft horses and helped him plant tobacco.

Beasley said people at the horse pulls suspected Hays was made money illegally, but it wasn't until 2001 that he found out Hays grew marijuana. Beasley explained the crop cycle.

The marijuana was farmed all year. From January-March plants were cloned. Those new plants would be hauled in horse trailers and planted in cornfields between April and June.

The crop would then be fertilized and cultivated during the summer. In October it would be cut and hung to dry. Hays would fist take a crew to Kokomo, Ind. They would cut 800-900 plants for 25 hours straight, starting before daylight, Beasley said. They would drive the crop straight back to Gravel Switch and hang it in a barn. As soon as it was hung, they would drive to Trempealeau County, Wis. and cut another 800-900 plants then hang them in a barn there. From Wisconsin they would drive to Odon, Ind., to cut a larger crop, more than 1,000 plants. That crop would be hung in a barn there.

Two or three weeks later the marijuana would be bundled and stripping would begin.

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