PA - Helen Miller, 19, stabbed to death by sister, 14, Manheim Twp., Feb 2021

Discussion in 'Crimes-Spotlight on Children' started by Richrd, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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    Cerebral Palsy can be very devastating to the afflicted and to the parents & families. I could see the killing being an act of mercy in the mind of the younger sister, if her sister was very, very sick.

    This is a tuff one, and because it has medical complications mixed in it, we may not find out much more about this one.

    And those poor parents -- both girls lost to them in such tragic and heart-ripping ways. What will they do tomorrow -- find an attorney for one daughter or find an undertaker for the other? Or both.
    Oh my, it takes my breath away.
     


  2. Hereshecomes75

    Hereshecomes75 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, another Lancaster County case making national headlines.

    I was surprised yesterday to see the girl’s name and picture all over our local media, but, as someone pointed out above, PA offers no special privacy for a minor charged with homicide. Seems on its face to be an open-and-shut case, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out legally. I imagine there’s a lot of backstory here.

    Also as mentioned above, this is the school the Gosselin kids attended, so it has a history IMO of keeping information locked up tight within its community. I doubt we’ll see any sensational “I had gym class with the killer!” interviews, which is probably a good thing. It’s just a sad situation all around.
     
  3. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Believer of Miracles

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    Claire Miller, of Manheim Township, was being charged with criminal homicide as an adult in the death of her 19-year-old sister Helen, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said.

    “This certainly is an incredibly tragic and unusual case,” District Attorney Heather Adams wrote in an email to local station FOX43.

    When officers arrived at the home, they found Claire Miller standing outside and spotted what appeared to be blood in the snow near the driveway, according to a police complaint obtained by Lancaster Online.

    The teen also appeared to have blood on her pants.

    Officers said they heard her repeatedly say, “I stabbed my sister”, and watched as she appeared to try washing her hands in the snow.

    [​IMG]

    Claire Miller pointed the officers to a bedroom where they discovered 19-year-old Helen Miller with a stab wound in her neck, officials said.

    Helen was found lying on her back with her hands up near her head and a bloodstained pillow covering her face, according to the complaint. The “large knife” was still in Helen’s neck, just above her chest, when the officers removed the pillow.

    “I don’t know that I have ever been a part of something that is quite as sad as this,” Manheim Township Police Chief Tom Rudzinski told WHTM-TV.

    Claire Miller was taken into custody at the scene and was being held without bail at the Lancaster County Prison. She was charged as an adult because homicide is not considered a delinquent act in Pennsylvania.

    The tragic news shocked the community of Manheim Township, which has a population of about 38,000.

    “It’s not the kind of thing we would expect in our neighbourhood,” Sarah Delia, a neighbour who said she did not know the family personally, told FOX43. “It’s very quiet and peaceful.”

    Steve Lisk, principal of Lancaster Country Day School where Claire was enrolled as a ninth-grade student, told the station the “tight-knit school community” was “surprised” and “grieving” over the news. The school was offering counselling services.

    A preliminary court hearing for Claire Miller was set for February 26.
    Teen’s unthinkable act while parents slept

    It was filed in criminal court without any testimony or deliberation, because that’s the way the law is written in Pennsylvania. Juveniles ages 10 and up accused of murder start out in adult court and the only way to get the case into juvenile court is if the defense attorney can convince a judge it is in the public interest.

    Pennsylvania is among about a dozen other states where the burden of proof is automatically placed on a juvenile who has been charged with murder.

    In many other states, when juveniles are charged with crimes, the burden is on the prosecutor to prove the suspect should be “certified” to stand trial as an adult.

    Pennsylvania’s law means Claire Miller, 14, of Manheim Township, who is accused of stabbing her older sister in the neck early Monday, is currently being treated as an adult, including having her name and mugshot released to the public and spending her incarceration in the county prison without bail.

    Prison officials said Tuesday they have her alone in a cell in the female unit of the prison, where she will not interact with any adult prisoners. She is being constantly observed by a camera in the cell and a dedicated staff member, said Deputy Warden William Aberts.

    Aberts said her case represented the first time they had a juvenile female locked up at the prison. They do not have dedicated space for female juveniles, he said.

    She has a preliminary hearing scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday. @Niner
    What we know about the 14-year-old accused of killing her disabled sister and why she’s in an adult prison
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021
  4. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Believer of Miracles

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  5. al66pine

    al66pine Well-Known Member

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    @Philly snipped for focus
    Seems you're right re tuition. Looking annual tuition, I skimmed school website,* saw $ 22,000 mentioned,** but not clear if that's the fee for the class a 14 y/o would be in.

    Fwiw: "31% of students receive need-based financial aid." & "12 average class size." & "600 students under one roof preschool thru 12th grade."

    The kind of school many can only dream of? my2ct.


    Thanks @Richrd.
    .__________________________________________
    * Lancaster Country Day School Private School in Lancaster, PA.
    ** Tuition assistance: "Few families find it easy to pay for independent school tuitions.... providing a specific, universal cut-off point is difficult. Award amounts range from $1,500 up to almost the full cost of tuition (roughly $22,000)."
    Lancaster Country Day School | Tuition Assistance
     
  6. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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    In the back of my mind, I still wonder if the older sister had a bad episode of some kind -- scary-sounding cries of deep pain, or trouble breathing or swallowing and making choking sounds, or something that sounded truly painful and very pitiful -- and the younger sister panicked and over-reacted.
    Or, the younger sister was awakened by the elder for the nth time, and she simply had had enuff. Something made her do this, obviously.
     
  7. ChatteringBirds

    ChatteringBirds Well-Known Member

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    I just hope she (the victim) receives as much justice as any other victim and it's not treated somehow as a lesser crime because of her disability.
    If she bothered her sister at night, her sister could have used ear plugs, etc.
     
  8. K9Enzo

    K9Enzo Well-Known Member

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    Horrible case.

    Perhaps the younger sister was tasked with caretaker responsibilities of her older disabled sister at times and became resentful. The action she took against her sister is very brutal. I don't think this was a mercy killing.

    It's interesting to me that she waits for police to arrive, admits to killing her sister, all while the parents slept. She doesn't wake them, they don't wake and she waits outside. She's wiping her bloody hands in the snow as they approach. She's ready for the next step.

    I think as more details are released this will become more shocking as to this young girls state of mind. Terribly sad. IMO
     
  9. Anicole

    Anicole Well-Known Member

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    What a terrible, terrible thing to have happened to this family.

    When I first read it, I thought of that book/movie (can't remember the name, maybe a N. Sparks?) where the younger sister is used for bone marrow for her older sister and the older sister has decided that she's just tired of it all and she and her sister agree to a plan for the younger to no longer donate but it has to be a secret.

    This is where I'm at in the world ... wanting to "justify," for a complete lack of a better word, this awful thing. I don't want to believe that the younger sister could have been that cold-blooded.
     
  10. Kiranerys

    Kiranerys #LiveLikeLizzy

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    My sister's keeper?
     
  11. Kakidoll

    Kakidoll Karma never forgets

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    MY first thought also. I saw that movie a few times. My Sisters Keeper, is the name, i think.

    I think there is a lot more to this story.
     
  12. MoeInVA

    MoeInVA Well-Known Member

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    Compared to the Christmas photo in news articles, CM’s hair appears to haphazardly chopped off in her mugshot. Also she appears to have scratches on her neck. Could those be defensive wounds despite her sister’s physical limitations?
     
  13. borndem

    borndem Anglophile & registered demwit

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    Good question. I saw those scratches, too, and wondered...
    There's gotta be more to this, of course, but I'm afraid we won't find out until/unless there's a trial. The damning thing about what the younger sister did, was to go and get a knife. Strangulation would have been more of a "sudden anger" type of reaction -- but I assume she had to go somewhere and fetch a knife, come back, and then attack her sister. Yes, there's more to this sad, sad event than we will ever know. SMH.
     
  14. MoeInVA

    MoeInVA Well-Known Member

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    New details in this article stemming from the search warrant:
    https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/02/teen-had-suicidal-and-homicidal-thoughts-the-night-her-older-sister-was-stabbed-to-death-records.html

    A 14-year-old girl accused of stabbing her older disabled sister to death in the middle of the night was on the phone with someone who told police Claire Miller was having “suicidal and homicidal thoughts.”

    ...

    The records didn’t explain whether the witness talked to Claire Miller before, during or after the stabbing of Helen Miller, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair.
    ...

    Police said they heard from a witness at 1:42 a.m. that the witness previously had been communicating with Claire Miller on the phone and that the teen was having “suicidal and homicidal thoughts.”

    No further details on the witness’ identity or conversation with Claire Miller were included in the court documents. The documents outlined what items police collected from the crime scene, including the clothes Claire Miller was wearing at the time of the killing: A blue t- shirt with a white cat face on it and black, white and gray checkered pajama pants.

    ...
    Police also collected several sharp objects from the home to see if any were used in the stabbing in addition to the knife left in Helen’s neck. They took nine kitchen knives found in drawers or the dishwasher and they found these items in a rear bedroom: an Exacto knife in a desk; a dart board on the desk, and a paper towel with suspected blood on the floor.

    Police also took a white board with chores for Claire located in the dining room. Officers said in their application for a search warrant that they would be looking for Claire’s cell phone, which could assist the investigation potentially establishing a motive and the events that occurred before, during and after the crime, but no phone was listed as among the items seized by police.
     
  15. Doghairrules

    Doghairrules Well-Known Member

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    I feel like there are so many possibilities here. A complete family study needs to be done. A 14 yo is not an adult and does not make decisions the way an adult would. Maybe she thought she was helping her sister by ending her pain, but maybe she has mental health issues that were completely missed because the older sister needed more attention. Or maybe someone who helped take care of the sister abused the 14 yo. Or maybe the parents’ marriage is shaky and 14 yo blamed 19 yo. There are just so many things that could be behind this and I don’t think anyone should be trying her as an adult until they find out what those things are.
    (I do understand this is the way the law is written there but it is a crappy law IMO.)
     
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  16. MoeInVA

    MoeInVA Well-Known Member

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    Based on her Social, I don’t think CM felt rich. At first glance I agreed with the assessments of that snow covered mansion and private school, but inside it did not look high end at all. She lived a couple blocks from her private school. Whether she got financial aid or not, her family did not seem to be living large. The arrestees tik tok videos show a home that has not seen upgrades since 80s or 90s. Not a fancy lifestyle. Maybe her sisters needs were part of that. The family was meeting needs, but nothing fancy.
     
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  17. Hereshecomes75

    Hereshecomes75 Well-Known Member

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    As a local, I’ll offer my opinions on the neighborhood. The area around Lancaster Country Day School is called School Lane Hills. It’s the traditional “old money” neighborhood for the city of Lancaster, PA. In it, you’ll find anything from breathtaking mansions from the 1920s in the oldest area to contemporary ranch houses built in the 1960s and 70s. At this point in time, it’s kind of a mixed bag of socioeconomics, now that many newer and bigger houses exist in prestigious neighborhoods a little further from the city that started in the 1980s. The neighborhood is still very nice, but the wow factor of living there isn’t what it used to be.

    Lancaster Country Day is obviously a good school, but it seems to have shed some of the exclusivity it had when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s. When I was school-aged, a kid from Country Day was almost always super smart and super rich and from a prestigious local family, but it’s not entirely like that now, IMO. It’s very small, which can be a great thing for families who want individualized attention and a close-knit community.

    So, to summarize, it’s hard to make any sort of generalities based on the school or neighborhood. As news articles have mentioned, the home was actually purchased in Helen’s name as some kind of a trust. As CP is sometimes a result of birth trauma or medical malpractice, I wondered if there had been some sort of settlement that provided the funds for the home purchase. JMO
     
  18. Alethea

    Alethea Verified Attorney

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    On the trust, there are special tax-advantaged trusts called supplemental needs trusts (previously special needs trusts) that allow parents to put assets into trust for the support of a disabled person without affecting that disabled person's ability to benefit from government programs meant to support disabled people, including disability and medicaid. It would also be excluded from the parent's estate and likely not included as assets if/when the parents needed elder care. I have no idea what Helen's situation was but this is very typical in estate planning.
     
  19. TTF14

    TTF14 Spaceship Headlight Pattern Expert

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    I hope she wasn't involved with some sort of weird online club that dared her to do this or something (since she was communicating with someone up until the time of the murder).
     
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  20. Hereshecomes75

    Hereshecomes75 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting point about her communicating with someone presumably before the murder. That person called the police shortly after they responded to the murder—I was wondering if/how they knew something was happening. Did they live close? Did they hear from her after the murder too?
     

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