Authorities: Trooper's fatal shooting of pregnant wife an accident

Posted: March 11, 2014

DOCTORS DID all they could, but were unable to save State Police Trooper Joseph Miller's pregnant wife - or the baby she was carrying - after he shot her Friday afternoon inside their East Norriton home.

Authorities say it appears to have been an accidental discharge of his personal .45-caliber pistol.

Montgomery County Coroner Walter Hofman, who performed the autopsies, said yesterday that the baby did not respond to treatment after doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section on JoAnne Miller, who was about 22 weeks pregnant. She was pronounced dead at Mercy Suburban Hospital.

"They tried for awhile, but the baby never breathed on its own," Hofman told the Daily News. "They put it on mechanical ventilation and artificial heart monitoring, but the baby never did anything on its own."

The manner of death for both JoAnne Miller, 34, and her baby is officially listed as homicide.

Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said it appears that Joseph Miller fired the semiautomatic gun by accident while taking it apart to be cleaned about 2:25 p.m. Friday. The gun was not his duty weapon.

"We haven't found anything to indicate that it was not an accident," Steele said.

Two of the couple's young children were inside the home on Stoney Creek Road in East Norriton and were not harmed.

Steele said Miller is distraught. He is assigned to the State Police barracks in Skippack. East Norriton police are working with county detectives in the investigation.

"He was cooperative with us in doing interviews and reinterviews," Steele said. "It's awful, but we're going to make sure everything lines up."


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