Man Gets 3 Life Terms In Burlco Killings Hugh D. Miller Jr., Of Burlington Twp., Killed His Mother, A Friend And Ex-girlfriend In 5 Hours.

Posted: June 13, 1998

MOUNT HOLLY — Former Burlington County Prosecutor Stephen G. Raymond once called it a ``night of carnage'' and the worst rampage he had seen in more than 20 years of prosecuting killers.

First Assistant Prosecutor Michael E. Riley called it ``quite simply the most murderous day in the history of Burlington County.''

The man responsible, 33-year-old Hugh D. Miller Jr., was sentenced yesterday to three consecutive life terms for killing his ex-girlfriend, his drinking buddy and his own mother within a five-hour span on April 7, 1995. Miller must serve at least 90 years in prison before he will be eligible for parole.

Superior Court Judge Donald P. Gaydos told Miller that his three crimes were the worst a human being could commit.

``How in God's name could you ever even think of doing harm to the person that carried you?'' Gaydos asked.

``I don't envy your nights. Because if you have any conscience at all, this will haunt you until the day you die.''

Miller replied in a small, flat voice: ``I'm sorry for all the pain and suffering I caused. I'm sorry for what I did.''

Prosecutors said that Miller's murderous spree began after an argument with his ex-girlfriend, Corrine Cochran-Ball, 23, at his Burlington Township apartment complex. Miller worked there as a live-in maintenance man.

Miller, who had been involved with Cochran-Ball for about a year, angrily accused her of dating another man. Authorities said he strangled her using his hands and her sweater and smashed her head on a tile floor. Medical examiners said later that the cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage.

Miller then went to the Burlington City home of his friend Keith S. Tiesman, 25, where the two men drank beer. Miller left briefly and returned with a pistol. He shot Tiesman in the head as he tied his shoes.

Authorities said Miller might have been angry at Tiesman, a high-school dropout who worked as a welder, for refusing to give him money to buy cocaine. Tiesman also might have mocked Miller for being rejected by Cochran-Ball, they said.

Later that day, Miller went to the Burlington City home of his mother, Charlotte Simcox, 49, and told her what he had done. When she suggested that he call police, he shot her. Miller's stepfather, Charles Simcox, found his wife face-down with a bullet in the back of her head.

Miller made a full confession to police. In April this year, he pleaded guilty to three counts of knowing and purposeful murder. Riley said then that persuading a jury to give him the death penalty would be difficult.

``He looked like a harmless guy, [and] most people when they hear the story say, `What was wrong with him?' '' Riley had said.

``Even if we got the death penalty, it would be years and years of appeals,'' Riley said yesterday after the sentencing.

That did not satisfy Dell Cochran, father of Corrine Cochran-Ball. Miller, he said, deserves the death penalty.

``I don't want Hugh to go to prison for 90 years,'' Cochran told Judge Gaydos before the sentencing, listing Internet access and taxpayer-funded education as perks of modern-day incarceration.

``I just feel that we were let down terribly in this case,'' Cochran said. ``I feel this man is not going to pay the price.''

Gaydos responded that he did not have the authority to give Miller the death sentence.

Cochran turned to look at Miller before returning to his seat and yelled, ``I hope you rot in hell! I hope you rot in hell!''

At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said that Miller, after killing three people, drove to the home of a former girlfriend in Pitman. Had she not been with her two young children, Raymond said then, she would have been the next target. He was arrested there by Pitman police.

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