This booking photo released by the Fort Wayne, Ind., Police Department shows John D. Miller, arrested Sunday, July 15, 2018, who arrested on preliminary murder, child molesting and criminal confinement charges in April Marie Tinsley's slaying. The Fort Wayne girl's body was found in a ditch three days after her April 1988 abduction about 20 miles away. (Fort Wayne Police/The Journal-Gazette via AP)

Mom of Indiana girl killed in '88 hopes defendant gets death

July 18, 2018 - 4:06 pm

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The mother of an 8-year-old Indiana girl who was abducted, raped and killed in 1988 wants prosecutors to seek the death penalty against the man accused of the crimes.

Prosecutors on Tuesday declined to discuss whether they'll seek the death penalty for John Miller, 59, in the killing of April Tinsley. But the girl's mother, Janet Tinsley, told the Journal Gazette that she wants to be present if Miller is put to death.

"I want to be the last face he sees," she said.

Miller was arrested Sunday on preliminary charges of murder, child molestation and criminal confinement in the killing of April. He's due to be arraigned Thursday and jail records didn't indicate if he had a lawyer as of Wednesday.

The Fort Wayne girl's body was found in a ditch three days after her abduction. Virginia-based DNA phenotyping company Parabon Nanolabs used DNA to narrow the search for a suspect. Investigators found that DNA from used condoms at Miller's home in Grabill matched DNA from the child's underwear in 1988 and from used condoms found in 2004 at locations in Fort Wayne and Grabill, authorities said.

Janet Tinsley learned of Miller's arrest Sunday, when Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards and three investigators visited her. She said she doesn't know Miller, and detectives who worked on the case at the time said his name was not on the list of suspects developed after April's death.

Indiana law allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty in murder cases if there is at least one aggravating circumstance, which could be killing while committing another serious felony such as child molestation. The state hasn't executed anyone since 2009.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net