ALLENDALE, SC (June 5, 2017) – An Allendale County teenager convicted last summer of beating and suffocating an elderly man in 2014 was sentenced today to 55 years in prison.
Robert Lee Miller III, 18, was convicted of murdering 86-year-old Willie Johnson after a four-day trial this past July. The killing took place June 19, 2014, at Johnson’s Pickrum Street home. Miller was 15 at the time of the murder but was tried as an adult. Miller is not eligible for parole and must serve the entire sentence.
Circuit Court Judge Rivers Lawton McIntosh, who presided over the July trial, delivered the sentence Monday. Fourteenth Circuit Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton prosecuted the case, and Assistant Solicitor Brian Hollen handled the sentencing phase.
“The very brutal nature of the crime deserved a severe penalty,” Hollen said Monday.
Johnson’s friends and relatives were unable to reach him by telephone for several days, and law-enforcement officers went to his home to conduct a welfare check. They found Johnson dead inside his residence, his hands tied behind his back and a black trash bag cinched over his head. The victim’s teeth and dentures were scattered in pieces around his body, and the home had been ransacked. Several hundred dollars and an air rifle were stolen during the murder.
Johnson was a lifelong resident of Allendale, an elder in his church and a retired merchant marine.
Two other Allendale residents have been charged in connection with the incident. Gabriel Joyner, 19, was convicted of first-degree burglary in January and awaits sentencing.
The third defendant, 19-year-old Kashawn Bynum, is scheduled to stand trial in July. Charges against this defendant are accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.