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

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.

Allen County prosecutors on Tuesday declined to discuss whether they’ll seek the death penalty against John D. Miller in the killing of April Tinsley. But the girl’s mother, Janet Tinsley, told the Journal Gazette that she wants to be present if the Grabill man is put to death.

READ | Suspect in 1988 killing of April Tinsley appears in court

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

Miller was arrested Sunday and is being held without bond. Prosecutors filed formal charges of murder and child molestation against him on Wednesday, a day before Miller is due in court.

Court records don’t list an attorney for Miller who might speak on his behalf.

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 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.

READ | Man arrested in connection with 1988 murder of April Tinsley

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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