Jury in Miller trial hears Hays is 'a dangerous man'

November 25, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

(Update: Scott Miller was found not guilty this afternoon. A story on the verdict will be in Wednesday's Advocate Messenger.)

LEXINGTON --- The jury began its deliberations today in the federal trial of a former Garrard animal control officer, David "Scott" Miller of Lancaster. He is charged with working on a multimillion marijuana farm that was based in Gravel Switch and had fields in Indiana and Wisconsin.

Scott Miller's father, William "Dave" Miller, testified Monday. Dave Miller told the jury how he shot Michael Hays, the head of the marijuana farm, at an Odon, Ind., gas station days after Hays and others had buried the body of a Danville man, just miles away, in an 8-foot deep grave.

Dave Miller cried as he told the jury about how he ran from the gas station, fearing for his life, and spent the night in a calf shelter before turning himself in to Indiana police.


He met Hays through coon hunting and horse pulls. His daughter, Beverly Hall, and his son-in-law, Frank Hall, lived on Hays' tenant farm. Miller said that Frank Hall came to him and said he had "gotten in over his head" with Hays, and that Hays was, "a big drug grower" and had held a loaded gun to his head.

"I'm telling you (Hays) is a dangerous man," Miller said to the jury.

Later that month, Miller rode with Hays to look at a tractor in Wisconsin. On the way Miller said that he tried to talk to Hays about letting his daughter, Beverly, out of the business.

"Michael Hays said, 'The business I'm in I can't let too many people in and out.'"

Miller rode with him again to Indiana the next month to trade horses with the Amish in Indiana. He said he again asked if his daughter could get out of the farm. Miller said that Hays made "vague threats," saying things like, "a whole family could burn up in a house."

In January 2002, Miller said that Hays coerced him into stripping marijuana.

Miller found out at the funeral of a family friend that Hays had put a gun to Hall's head again. Miller insisted that they move off of Hays' property immediately and leave their furnishings there.

Even after the Halls moved out, Miller continued to work for Hays.

A few days after Hays found Rusty Marshall dead in his kitchen, Miller went with him to Odon to pick up a load of hay, and it was on that day Miller shot Hays in the back of the head and in the shoulder.

Miller faces attempted murder charges in Indiana over the incident.

According to Miller, here's what happened

Here is what Miller testified happened:

When the men reached Bardstown, Marshall's father called Hays' cell phone. Hays told him, "You have to be careful what you are saying and doing. The Russian Mafia is dangerous."

After he had hung up, Hays said that Rusty Marshall would never be seen again. Near Louisville, Hays made threats about Miller's wife and his grandson. Then when the men reached Odon, Miller said that Hays pulled a gun out of his pocket and said, "It's a good day to die."

Miller told Hays that he (Hays) had taken too many pills.

"He ate pills like people eat candy," Miller said to the jury.

Miller said that Hays met two of his Indiana growing partners, Clifford Slusher and Ricky Griffin, at an apartment Hays stayed in while in Indiana. Miller watched Slusher and Hays have several private conversations. Then the two men tried to get behind him. A cell phone rang and Hays told the caller, "Plan 3 is about to go down now."

Hays then insisted that all the men go buy cigarettes, and on the way, Hays asked him if he wanted to call his wife. Miller said he did call her, even though he had already spoken with her earlier.

At the gas station, Hays went into his pocket and Miller thought he was going for the gun again, so he shot Hays. Miller went inside the store and told the clerk to call the police.

Miller said he walked away.

He also stopped at a house and asked a woman there to call the police. He kept walking through fields, avoiding the roads. He came upon a calf shelter. He shooed the animals out and went to sleep.

During the night it began to rain, and Miller said the cows sat at the door. At daylight, he went to another home and again asked a woman to call the police.

As he cried, Miller told the jury how he had given the gun to the woman and told her he had shot a man, but wasn't a danger. He waited in her yard, sitting on a bucket, for the police to arrive.

Both of the Halls have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and admitted that they helped Hays farm marijuana.

Scott Miller's attorney then called Ronnie House, Scott Miller's coon hunting partner, to testify. He said that Scott Miller had hunted his dog on dates that others testified he was at the barn stripping marijuana. Tally sheets from those days had the initials "Sc."

Hays' wife, Trena, had said that "Sc" stood for Scott Miller.

His attorney also tried to argue that the "Sc" could have stood for a different Scott.

Scott Miller's wife and mother-in-law testified that he was never out of bed before 8 a.m. Marijuana stripping at the Hayses began at 7 a.m.

Scott Miller used to work at Taylor Made Farm in Jessamine County for $7.50 an hour. His attorney also submitted, as evidence, a picture of the duplex the Millers rent for $350 a month in Lancaster, and asked his family about the times when the Millers were unemployed and how they didn't have any money.

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