Michael “Brandon” Miller was sentenced to 15 days in jail for discharging a gun during an argument last fall in Hoback after appearing in Teton County Circuit Court late last week.
Miller and his attorney said it was actually someone else’s fault that the gun was fired.
But the judge said it was Miller who brought the deadly weapon into the argument in the first place.
“I was in my home, and I was defending myself,” Miller said in court. “I was the one who called the cops. This time I am not guilty of these crimes. I would fight all this but I cannot afford it. Because I am not rich I have to choose which bad option is better.”
Miller was sentenced after his no contest plea to misdemeanor reckless endangerment, rather than the previously charged felony aggravated assault.
The 29-year-old was arrested in November 2019 on child endangerment and aggravated assault charges after a gun was fired in his house with a toddler nearby.
No one was hurt.
“What it comes down to is it was a dangerous situation, and it was a tense situation in the home and it was escalated when a firearm was brought out,” Teton County Deputy Prosecutor Carly Anderson said in court, “and it was brought out by Mr. Miller.”
Miller’s attorney, John Robinson, said the night it happened his client had an unwelcome houseguest who was harassing him and refused to leave.
“He was coming at Mr. Miller,” Robinson argued. “Mr. Miller attempted to call 911 to try and get someone to respond.”
They argued that the houseguest should have been the one charged.
“The night all this happened I was the only one sober,” Miller said. “I was in my home, and I was defending myself.”
Anderson suggested a 45-day jail sentence. Robinson argued for no jail.
Judge James Radda ordered 15 days with credit for three days that Miller already had served.
“You exercised incredibly poor judgment for bringing a firearm into this altercation and changing the character of the altercation,” Radda said. “You took what would have been a fistfight and turned it into a deadly situation. Wherever your daughter was, she was too close to the situation.”
Robinson said he would make a motion for the 12-day jail sentence to be served this coming winter over four weekends so his client wouldn’t lose his job.