Man convicted of sexual assault back in court for allegedly hitting a witness

LAS CRUCES - A man who pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting a young family member was back in court on Tuesday after police said he physically assaulted the victim's mother.

Prosecutors were seeking to put Ronald Miller, 76, in jail while he awaits resolution on new charges of bribery of a witness in the form of retaliation. Ultimately, a judge released Miller into his daughter's custody.

Miller pleaded no contest to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in October, four years after police first arrested him. A judge scheduled Miller for sentencing in December, but his lawyer, Jeff Lahann, requested that sentencing be delayed.

Miller could face 18 years in prison and several thousand dollars in fines. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Until then, the case now faces another complication.

According to an affidavit signed by a Doña Ana County Sheriff's deputy, Miller's wife told deputies that she saw Miller, his daughter and his son-in-law arrive at their home and feared for her safety after the sentencing hearing was delayed on Dec. 2.

Miller's wife told deputies that Miller abused her in the past and that the presence of Miller's daughter could make the situation worse, according to the affidavit.

She feared a confrontation would ensue. So, she called her daughter — Miller's stepdaughter — and asked her to come over as quickly as possible.

Miller's stepdaughter arrived shortly after. She told deputies that she saw Miller approach her mother in "an angry manner" and described Miller as raising his hands towards his wife. The stepdaughter told Miller to stop, deputies said. Miller's stepdaughter said that he then turned towards her and hit her several times.

During the altercation, Miller's stepdaughter said that Miller reiterated his belief that his wife and her daughter conspired to get Miller in prison. Deputies said that Miller's stepdaughter had a swollen lump on her eyebrow and forehead along with scratches on her neck and forehead.

During the pretrial detention hearing on Tuesday, Judge Conrad Perea ultimately decided that Miller could be released into the custody of his daughter despite finding him dangerous. He also placed a $50,000 unsecured bond on Miller, meaning that Miller would only have to pay the bond if he violated his conditions of release.

Perea ordered Miller to have no contact with his stepdaughter and not to return to his residence where his wife resides. Miller's daughter and his lawyer also indicated that were seeking to get Miller into a facility to treat possible mental degeneration.

A new sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Justin Garcia is a public safety reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Just516garc.

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This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Man convicted of sexual assault in court for allegedly threatening witness