Richard and Elizabeth Jones, parents to 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones who was killed on the set of Midnight Rider, sent letters to the Georgia court and to Wayne County Sheriff John Carter asking for them to enforce the two-year sentence initially imposed on filmmaker Randall Miller. He pleaded guilty in March to felony involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in their daughter’s death.
The letter (read it here), sent today specifically asks that Miller not be given the leniency that he has been seeking, saying that the family only agreed to Miller’s guilty plea deal based on their understanding that he would serve the full two years. As part of their written request to Wayne County Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison and Carter, they included a powerful excerpt from a letter sent to the filmmaker by one of the more seriously injured crew members, Izabeau Giannakopoulos, who told her former boss: “We all have had to accept the circumstances of the aftermath. Each person has had their own, and this is yours.”
Miller’s attorneys said they filed a supplemental motion to ask for his “immediate release” citing health concerns. Those letters were part of Exhibit A in the original motion. The Joneses noted that doctors’ letters writing about the seriousness of Miller’s cardio health were questionable: One was written by Miller’s father-in-law who is a dermatologist in Connecticut, and the other by a retired doctor/neighbor of the filmmaker’s.
In Miller’s motion for early release, it stated that Carter agreed to a 2-for-1 computation (meaning half of his time would be served in a two-year sentence). However, the longtime law enforcement officer told Deadline last week the statement in the motion was untrue. It is up to Carter’s discretion whether he wants to grant Miller early release from the Wayne County Detention Center in a two-for-one. If he does, Miller will be out in March.
The decision has not yet been made, and it is not clear when the sheriff will make that determination. But Miller’s lawyers told Deadline that deal was made in a plea bargain with the D.A. and the sheriff in the hallway of the courthouse back in March before Miller entered his plea. Carter, once again, told Deadline that it wasn’t true.
In the letter, the Jones family also questioned whether Miller helping on a film for the Wayne County Drug Court violates his sentencing special conditions. It is a film they were asked about and, according to their letter, objected to “in the strongest of terms” to the court.
However, right now, all eyes are on whether Miller will be granted early release.