Update on “kangaroo court” treatment of Sgt. Derrick Miller in U.S. military trial–clemency hearing in Sept.

UPDATE August 20, 2011

Hi Bonnie. We’ve put up a site for Sergeant Derrick Miller. Thought you’d might be interested in reading the overview. He’s hanging in there. Clemency hearing is coming up in September.


Army Guardsman, Sergeant Derrick Miller has been sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole by the United States Military.

During a combat mission in a hostile area an Afghan man was walking inside their defense perimeter and was brought to Derrick’s attention. He was recognized by several men of being the driver of a truck the day before that was taking insurgents to a nearby village. Intel confirmed the convoy but told US soldiers to let them pass.

Derrick detained the man to ask questions because being inside the defense perimeter he knew this man had reconed the whole area. Testimony and evidence established in the trial that the man, in fact, had walked the entire perimeter according to eye witnesses.

Derrick felt an attack was imminent and detained him for questioning. During the questioning the man reached out and grabbed Derrick’s weapon..there was a struggle for the weapon and then Derrick shot him in self defense.

Within an hour they were attacked on all 4 sides in an extreme complex attacked, which was also testified by many soldiers at the trial. The attack was not a result of the Afghan national being shot. The enemy knew where everything was set up inside the defense perimeter because everything was hit dead on. Where the commander was sitting and having chow moments before was hit by mortars. The only reason he had gotten up was because of the shot fired by Derrick.

Derrick having alerted the men to an imminent attack saved many US soldiers lives that day..to which many testified at the trial.

The prosecution said soldiers are overseas to “win the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people and that Derrick should never have detained the man for questions. Our government expects our soldiers to go overseas to a hostile place to just win the hearts and minds. They would have preferred Derrick allow the man to take his weapon and shoot him rather than Derrick defend himself. The military felt that self defense should not have been used because Derrick was putting his life above that man’s and did not win his heart and mind. So now he’s dishonorably discharged and serving life in prison.

There are media articles but they don’ t do any justice in telling what happened. They even name an Afghan man, and during the whole entire trial he was never mentioned. The trial was held in July, 2011.



About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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3 Responses to Update on “kangaroo court” treatment of Sgt. Derrick Miller in U.S. military trial–clemency hearing in Sept.

  1. Dottie ONeill says:

    This is outrageous. It seems the prosecution needs to get more of their side out here so it doesn’t look like another cover up of a bigger picture. What is going on and why is no uproar about this? I happened upon this article and how many more are there?

  2. We have no idea, but this soldier’s family is fighting the court’s finding.


  3. Bill M. Burley says:

    Try reading five Stars and Stripes,European edition to learn about another case.

    New testimoney may free officer convicted of ordering a beating, Febuary 4, 2008
    Hearing for soldier convicted of hazing delayed, Febuary 5, 2008
    Witness now tells Army he had no knowledge of set up, Febuary 7, 2008
    Private says soldier jailed in assault was framed, Febuary 9, 2008
    Military judge denies ‘code-red’ case appeal, May 7, 2008

    Case Back Ground: A new Army recruit was assigned to Caserma Ederle, Italy Oct 4, 2006 and after 8 weeks later on November 27, 2006 he went AWOLand returned home to Florida. He contacted Congressman Connie Mack’s office November 30, 2006.
    November 30, 2006 Florida Congressman Bill Young is part of a congressional deligation that is visiting the command of Casrma Ederle, Italy.
    December 1, 2006 LTC Michael Fenzel learned the AWOL Soldier “was safe in Florida”. December 5, 2006 General Helmick calls for an “informal investigation into the potential environment of maltreatment at the headquarters and two combat battalions of the 173rd Airborne Combat team in Vicenza, Italy.”
    Sometime between Nov. 30 and December 7, 2006 the AWOL soldier sent an email to Connie Mack. In the email he makes a list of excuses for being AWOL and accuses everyone from LTC Fenzel to SPC Benson of turning a blind eye to the hazing he had to endure ever since arriving to Italy. He ended the email, “I am willing to resolve this within the military as long as I have a written commitment for an honorable discharge and a written assurance that I will not be subjected to any further abuse.”
    3 Jan 07 Bluff findings from the “informal investigation” General Helmick called for read in part: “a. I find no environment of maltreatment of Soldiers at the headquarters and two battallions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Comdat Team in Vicenza…b. Soldiers within the 173rd ABCT are being required to perform physical training as a form of corrective training. This is being termed “smoked” by Soldiers and leaders at all levels.
    December 1- 7, 2006 LTC Fenzel “worked closely with the parents” of the AWOL soldier and was able to persuade him to return to Italy. His “chapter (Chapter 5-17) was approved on 9 Jan. 2007 and he was quickly cleared from post under the direct supervision of a Staff Sergeant.”
    The original chapter (Chaper 14) for misconduct did not include an honorable discharge. This recommendation was changed by LTC Michael Fenzel. (RT pg 488 CPT Curry’s testimony). On January 12, 2007 the AWOL soldier was honorably discharged and cleared from the United States Army.
    How could three Privates who are raised only one step above mushrooms have any idea the consequences of throwing the AWOL soldier a going away suprise party. After all the party only included duct taping him to his bed and giving him a “pinkbelly”. (RT pg. 676 & 67). One of the soldiers was an ex-roommate and went to Basic and Airborne with the AWOL soldier and had gotten into a lot of trouble because of him. Another was a 36 year-old ex-cage fighter from Texas who attended Airborne training with the Awol soldier also, and the third private, he originally confessed on January 13, 2007 when they were arrested that it had been his idea to have the party and he named the 36 year-old roommate.
    On January 15, 2007 the three were visited by 1 LT Peters and after the passing of a “Cryptic/Weird” note that was flushed down a toilet to the 36 year-old private who was not cooperating with investigators the other two privates, out of the blue (because suspects are not allowed to talk to each other) changed their sworn statements claiming that the Staff Sergeant who spent two days clearing the AWOL soldier “Ordered them to beat the ___ out of the man.” According to LTC Fenzel in the charges he brought against the Staff Sergeant, the attack was so severe that it could have even caused death.
    January 16 the Staff Sergeant was arrested and he truthfully confessed to joking with the three privates and many other people including Captain Curry that the AWOL soldier deserved to have his butt kicked not an honorable discharge, but he ever dreamed anyone would go and do it. Every enlisted soldier knew the AWOL soldier was being honorably discharged and where he was staying. CID agent Callich reveals why the Staff Sergeant was arrested with one question, “Do you know you can be sued if ___ has any long term effects from the attack? Civil Liability? A civil lawsuit could expose that two congessmen and the senior command of Caserma Ederle, Italy had secretly worked together to assure this fine AWOL soldier recieved his honorable discharge. How could this illegal activity be covered up. The command of Caserma Ederle, Italy would have to find someone they could NAME GUILTY of giving an illegal order. If the AWOL soldier brought a civil suit against the United States Army they would have a perfect scapegoat. Until the perfect scapegoat was found every officer was at risk.
    The Staff Sergeant was named guilty by a pannel of officers from Caserma Ederle, Italy on May 23, 2007 and he was facing a sentence of 26 years. They sentenced him to 2 years.

    4 months later a witness who had spent time at Mannheim came forward and provided a sworn statement claiming that while he was serving time with the co-accused who plead guilty and served 40 days they bragged how they beat the rap by lying to investigators by telling them their Staff Sergeant ordered them to do what they did. 4 months later the witness arrived in Italy to testify at a 39 (a) hearing. He was met first by the prosecutor. All contact with the defense counsel had been done over the phone and through electronic mail. The sworn statement had been notorized bythe witnesses step-mother. After meeting with the prosecution the witness was sent to Caserma Ederle CID office where he furnished the prosecution a new statement.
    Unfortunately there is only one more appellate court this Staff Sergeant can go to for the truth… That is the court on Judgement Day! God almighty will be the Judge and He will not need another Scapegoat! You see the difference between this Staff Sergeant and those who framed him is the Staff Sergeant does not fear the men who destroyed his life, rather he fears God who can destroy his soul.

    Woe unto men who call evil good and good evil.
    If you read all this thank you, and please say a prayer for this Staff Sergeant and his family.

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