Fugitive charged with 1981 murder found serving as Texas church deacon
You can run, the saying goes.
Joseph Lewis Miller spent more than 33 years hiding, ducking police for a murder charge out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to a statement from U.S. Marshal Martin Pane.
Now 78, Miller was arrested Monday in Mineola, Texas, where he was living under the alias Roy Eugene Eubanks and serving as a deacon at a church, the statement said. A 1981 arrest warrant charges Miller with murder, committing crimes with a firearm, being a convict in possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm without a license.
Harrisburg police accused Miller of killing Thomas Waller in a parking lot adjacent to a hotel in January 1981.
"The murder occurred more than three decades ago, and while this case presented us with a significant challenge it also exemplifies the dedication, thoroughness and diligence the fugitive task force has toward cold cases," Pane said.
This wasn't the first time Miller was charged with murder.
Miller pleaded guilty to killing John H. Lumpkins in Harrisburg in 1960, and throughout that decade, Pane said, Miller applied to have his sentence commuted, a request that was granted with lifetime state parole in 1971.
Ten years later, Miller became a fugitive after Waller's death. Recently, the U.S. Marshals Service developed information on a Roy Eugene Eubanks in East Texas, the Marshals Service said.
"Working with photographs more than three decades old, Marshals believed the man named Roy Eugene Eubanks was indeed Joseph Lewis Miller," the statement said.
Authorities put an East Texas home under surveillance Monday and soon saw a man believed to be Miller. They arrested him without incident and recovered a firearm from the home, the statement said.
"The individual admitted his true identity as Joseph Lewis Miller. He was married and a deacon in his local church," according to U.S. marshals.
Using his alias, Miller had been receiving Social Security disability benefits for more than two decades, the statement said.
He is now in custody in Wood County, Texas, where he awaits court proceedings.
"It is my sincere hope that the victims' family and the surviving victim can and will rest easier knowing the alleged perpetrator is now in custody," Pane said in the statement.