Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bond increased for Fred Goins Miller III - Repeat Sex Offender

The bond for a man suspected in a sexual-assault investigation was raised yesterday after prosecutors argued that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Judge Lisa Menefee of District Court increased the bond for Fred Goins Miller III from $150,000 to $225,000.

Miller, 26, is a registered sex offender accused of trying to escape from the jail, and there are doubts that he is living at the address that he registered with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Menefee said when explaining her decision.

Court papers and prosecutors’ statements in court show that Miller is the suspect in a rape investigation by the sheriff’s office, but he has not been charged with any sexual assault and investigators won’t disclose the cases in which he may be implicated.

Winston-Salem detectives who work on sexual-assault cases also were at yesterday’s hearings and spoke with Beth Toomes, Miller’s attorney during the hearing, about evidence against Miller.

Police Capt. David Clayton declined to comment on Miller.

“You just can’t talk about suspects, period,” he said. “If somebody’s a suspect now, hopefully they’re an arrestee in the near future, but it doesn’t always work out that way. So I can’t comment on it,” Clayton said. Maj. Brad Stanley, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, also would not say what case the sheriff’s office was investigating.

Belinda Foster, a prosecutor, told Menefee only that Miller was a suspect in other cases. She based her argument for a higher bond on the charges he already faces - two counts of failing to register as a sex offender and one count of trying to escape from a jail.

Foster gave this general timeline in court:

On Jan. 10, detectives went to investigate whether Miller was living at the address at which he had registered. His sister told them that he had not been there since Dec. 17.

When detectives found Miller, he lied about his address, Foster said. Miller agreed to speak to investigators, but later said he wanted an attorney.

At that point, detectives took him before a magistrate on charges of failing to register as a sex offender. Miller was convicted in 2000 of attempted second-degree rape and common-law robbery. After the magistrate set Miller’s bond and Miller learned that he was a suspect in other cases, he tried to flee through a locked door, Foster said. He was still handcuffed and hit his head, and had to be taken to a hospital.

Investigators searched Miller’s house and took DNA samples from him. Judge Edgar B. Gregory sealed those search warrants on Jan. 11.

Toomes said that Miller was scared and didn’t know what he was being arrested for. She asked Menefee to consider only the charges that Miller faces, not any other allegations.

Investigators have asked the State Bureau of Investigation to expedite results of DNA tests in the sexual-assault cases, but Toomes said that those results are two weeks away.

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