EFFINGHAM — An Effingham County grand jury indicted an Altamont man last week on drug-induced homicide charges stemming from the heroin overdose death of an Effingham woman earlier this year.
The grand jury indicted Jay C. Miller, 23, on one count of drug-induced homicide in connection with the February overdose death of Jessica James, 29. Miller could receive up to 30 years in prison for supplying James with the dose of heroin that caused her death.
But the grand jury used its discretion to deny a request from State's Attorney Bryan Kibler to impose a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years on Miller due to the weight of the drugs involved. Instead, the grand jury indicted Miller on the new charge on the condition that he would be eligible for a minimum sentence of six years.
"It's still nonprobationable," Kibler said, adding the jury thought a 15-year minimum was "harsh" for the charge. "It's just now whether it's a mandatory minimum of six or a mandatory minimum of 15."
Miller faces a pre-trial hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, with jury selection still set for 8:30 a.m. May 5. The latter date is not likely to stick, however, because of the new charge being filed.
Miller was already in jail in lieu of $50,000 bond on an earlier charge of possession of a controlled substance.
The grand jury also indicted four people arrested on methamphetamine charges in Shumway earlier this month.
Cody L. Laue, 20, of Beecher City, Tara L. Devoe, 18, of Shumway, Stacey M. Beccue, 38, of Altamont, and Nathaniel S. Sparks, 23, of Beecher City, were all arraigned on felony methamphetamine charges after material was seized from a Shumway residence.
Laue was indicted this week on charges of participation in methamphetamine manufacturing and aggravated participation in methamphetamine manufacturing, Class X felonies Devoe faces an indictment for participation in methamphetamine manufacturing, also a Class X felony.