Rodney Miller

Rodney Miller

CLARK COUNTY — A former inmate who admitted to escaping from an Indiana prison facility in Henryville last year was found not guilty in a Clark County courtroom.

Rodney Miller, 21, was serving time at the Henryville Correctional Facility on theft charges before he escaped on Dec. 18, 2015. According to court records, staff at the minimum-security prison noticed Miller wasn't in his bunk during a routine offender count. Security camera footage later showed him leaving the prison grounds and walking into the woods.

Miller was found by U.S. Marshals Service and Indiana State Police two days later at a trailer home in Ellettsville, about 80 miles away from the prison. He was arrested and charged with a level 5 felony count of escape.

But Miller's attorney, Dave Mosley, argued in court that Miller was under duress when he fled the facility. Mosley said Miller's girlfriend had just visited and told him she was pregnant. His girlfriend allegedly told Miller she was going to have an abortion. Mosley said Miller thought there was imminent danger to the pregnancy, driving him to take action.

"So he basically, the reason he walked off was to try to convince her to not have an abortion," Mosley said, adding that Miller planned to turn himself in.

Following a trial that began on Tuesday, a jury found Miller not guilty by reason of duress. Mosley said that defense wouldn't have been an option if Miller had been incarcerated for a violent offense. He added that Deputy Prosecutor Zynthia Arocena "did a great job presenting the fact" and that he understands why his client was prosecuted. Clark County Prosecutor Jeremy Mull could not be reached for comment on the case.

Miller's original release date from Henryville on the theft charges was in May. Mosley said Miller finished serving that sentence and was released from county jail.

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Elizabeth DePompei is the digital editor for The News and Tribune. She has degrees in journalism and film from the University of Cincinnati and CUNY's Hunter College and was previously the paper's criminal justice reporter.

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