Montgomery County prosecutors have charged a former state police trooper with fatally shooting his wife and their unborn daughter, two years after the shooting.
Joseph Miller, 36, was arrested Friday on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of his pregnant wife, Joanna, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announced. The prosecutor said new evidence emerged that conflicted with Miller's assertion that the shooting was accidental.
Miller shot his wife in their East Norriton home at about 2:30p.m., on March 7, 2014. He then called 911 and said he had just shot his pregnant wife, according to prosecutors.
He told authorities that he had been cleaning his .45-caliber Glock pistol when it accidentally discharged, striking Joanna Miller in the head. She had been vacuum-sealing bags of children’s clothing in the living room at the time, Joseph Miller told authorities.
Joanna was taken to a hospital, where she went into cardiac arrest and died. Joanna was only 24 weeks pregnant. Doctors delivered the child, but the baby girl later that afternoon, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors decided at the time not to charge Miller, whose explanation for the deaths appeared to satisfy authorities. He resigned as a state trooper after the shooting.
New evidence has since come to light, Steele said, including the fact that Joanna Miller had been shot at close range.
“Forensic and ballistic tests conducted over the last two years showed that the victim was shot at close range," the district attorney said in a statement. "The investigation also revelaed that Miller, as a state police trooper, had extensive knowledge of basic and mandatory procedures of gun safety and handling.”