A longtime fugitive who had been hiding out in Texas for a murder that he was convicted of 33 years ago was arrested Monday in a small East Texas town. Joseph Lewis Miller now a 78-year-old man fled Pennsylvania after killing a man in a parking lot outside of a motel.
Miller had been hiding out Mineola, Texas for a murder that he committed 33 years ago, until authorities received a tip that he had been living in Mexico, under the name of a deceased cousin. The U.S. Marshals Service in Harrisburg, Pa., soon figured out that Miller was living in the Texas town and arrested him, shortly after being arrested he confessed to the shooting.
Longtime Fugitive Convicted Of A Killing In 1981 Caught In Texas
The case had remained unsolved for three decades, Miller was charged with murder and three other felonies.
The U.S. Marshals service reported, Miller was charged in the 1981 death of Thomas Waller in Harrisburg, Pa. The Patriot-News reported that Waller was found inside his car with a gunshot wound to his head. Miller had been previously convicted of murder for killing a Harrisburg man in 1959 and was given life in prison, but that sentence was pardoned in 1971 by former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond P. Shafer.
It remains unclear how Miller got from Pennsylvania to Texas, or why he chose the town of Mineola, about 85 miles east of Dallas.
His wife, Gennell Eubanks, defended her husband in a phone interview saying, that her husband was trying to help his brother during a fight when the 1981 shooting occurred. “He said it was an accident and he didn’t mean to do that,” she said. “He was trying to help his brother.”
The man she knows as Roy Eubanks has arthritis, a Pacemaker and walks with a cane, she said. She has never spoken to his relatives, some of whom she believes live in Pennsylvania, and said he hadn’t seen them since he fled to Texas.
Miller has been living in the city of Mineola, Texas since the early 1980’s after the Pennsylvania shooting. He has served on a handful of town boards and commissions and frequently offered town residents advice on reverse mortgages, city officials said.
He also was a deacon at a local Baptist church and no one in the town knew anything bad or negative about him. Miller worked at a local wood treatment plant, until going on disability for an accident at the plant. Plant manager Linda Smith described him as “a nice, friendly gentleman.”
Miller did not have a state criminal record under either his name or his believed alias, and Wood County Sheriff Jim Brown said he did not know of any prior arrests.He was being held in the Wood County Jail in Texas until court proceedings are complete and he will be taken back to Pennsylvania.
Longtime Fugitive Convicted Of A Killing In 1981 Caught In Texas.