Miller

DERRICK JAMES | Staff photo

The attorney for Bryce Miller, center, filed an appeal with the Oklahoma State Court of Criminal Appeals asking for Miller's 20-year sentence for second-degree murder be be vacated, reversed, or "favorably" modified due to alleged errors made during the trial.

An attorney for a McAlester teenager convicted of murder filed an appeal requesting the sentence be vacated, reversed, or "favorably" modified, claiming nine errors were made during the trial.

Bryce Miller, 18, was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections after a Pittsburg County Jury convicted him of second-degree murder by imminently dangerous conduct for the June 2019 shooting death of 16-year-old Jaylen Nelson.

In an 89-page brief, the defense appeal presented nine major errors allegedly made during the March 2020 trial against Miller for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to consider:

• “The State of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to prosecute Mr. Miller because the alleged crime occurred within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Choctaw Reservation and JN was an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation.”

• "The state’s evidence was legally insufficient to support Mr. Miller’s conviction for second degree murder.”

• "Mr. Miller was denied his right to a fair trial before a properly instructed jury because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on the lesser related offense of first-degree manslaughter by resisting criminal attempt.”

• "Mr. Miller was denied his right to a fair trial before a properly instructed jury because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on the lesser related offense of misdemeanor manslaughter.”

• “The trial court erred by failing to provide the required definition/explanatory instructions regarding second degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after instructing the jury both crimes were lesser included offenses to first-degree murder.”

• "The trial court erred by failing to instruct Mr. Miller’s jury that self-defense is a complete defense to the lesser included offenses of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter as well as the charged offense of first-degree murder.”

• “The state’s misconduct denied Mr. Miller of a fair trial in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments.”

• “The trial court’s failure to provide a complete record of the proceedings leading to Mr. Miller’s conviction and sentence constitutes a denial of his right to due process of law.”

• “Mr. Miller was deprived of the effective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.”

The motion states even if none of the discussed errors when viewed by themselves “necessitate reversal, the combined effect of these errors deprived Mr. Miller of a fair trial and requires that his conviction be vacated or reversed and/or his sentence by favorably modified.”

Miller’s attorney also filed an application for an evidentiary hearing on the jurisdictional issue.

Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma have not responded to the appeal as of press time Monday.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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