Prosecutors drop most serious counts against ex-Lyft driver charged in shooting in York

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The York County District Attorney’s Office has dropped the most serious counts against a former Lyft driver who was charged with shooting a woman using the ride-sharing app after an argument in York.

Jerry Miller was driving three women — Henrietta Rice and her nieces, Rosemarie Elliott and Mae Harris — when he stopped on East College Avenue and South George Street on June 24, 2020. He reported that he tried to get out of his car, York City police said.

That's when, Miller told investigators, one of the women hit him in the back of the head — so he pulled out his SIG Sauer P320 and fired a warning shot at the curb. Bullet fragments, police said, struck Harris in the leg.

At the time, Miller, who’s white, reported that he was scared and stated that the women called him racist. Rice testified at his preliminary hearing that Miller refused their repeated requests to roll down the windows, locked the doors and berated them. The women are Black.

Past coverage: York woman says Lyft driver shot her niece in the leg

From left, Henrietta Rice and her nieces, Rosemarie Elliott and Mae Harris, reported that a Lyft driver shot at them in York after a family game night on June 24, 2020. They're pictured here in this photo at Farquhar Park in York on July 10, 2020. The York County District Attorney's Office recently dropped the most serious charges against the man, Jerry Miller, 52, of South Newton Township, Cumberland County, and offered a plea agreement to a type of simple assault for engaging in "mutual combat." He said he believes he acted in self-defense.
From left, Henrietta Rice and her nieces, Rosemarie Elliott and Mae Harris, reported that a Lyft driver shot at them in York after a family game night on June 24, 2020. They're pictured here in this photo at Farquhar Park in York on July 10, 2020. The York County District Attorney's Office recently dropped the most serious charges against the man, Jerry Miller, 52, of South Newton Township, Cumberland County, and offered a plea agreement to a type of simple assault for engaging in "mutual combat." He said he believes he acted in self-defense.

Miller, 52, of South Newton Township, Cumberland County, appeared on Dec. 14 before Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness and pleaded guilty to a type of simple assault for engaging in “mutual combat.” The sentence was guilt without further punishment.

“Jerry and I are grateful that after reviewing this case, the district attorney’s office recognized that this incident was not what it initially appeared to be,” Chief Deputy Public Defender Diana Spurlin, Miller’s attorney, said in an interview.

“I’m confident we would have been successful at trial,” she added. “However, since the commonwealth was willing to recognize and acknowledge the evidentiary issues in their case and offer a plea agreement that would allow Mr. Miller to go on with his life, we felt this was an appropriate resolution.”

During the hearing, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mark Monroe said he extended the plea agreement because of “concerns with the circumstances surrounding the altercation which led to this incident that we believe will hamper our ability to prove these counts at trial.”

Monroe dropped all the original charges in the case, which included three counts of aggravated assault.

Read: Ex-Lyft driver charged in shooting told investigators he fired a warning shot, police say

When reached on Tuesday, Rice described the sentence as a “slap on the wrist” and stated that the district attorney’s office did not give her notice of the hearing.

“The system failed us from the beginning,” Rice said. “We didn’t get a chance to voice our opinion. We didn’t get a chance to set the truth free.”

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Meanwhile, Miller said he was “scared to death” that night and believes that he acted in self-defense.

In his opinion, Miller said the DA exercised bad judgment in continuing to prosecute him. He said he felt that prosecutors were not going to allow him to walk without obtaining a conviction.

Miller said he would’ve gone to trial if his health was better to prove a point that “you don’t hit someone alongside the head — because this is the end result.”

“Nothing would’ve happened,” Miller said. “There would’ve been absolutely nothing if they wouldn’t have hit me upside the head.”

Dylan Segelbaum is the courthouse reporter at the York Daily Record, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Contact him at 717-916-3981, dsegelbaum@ydr.com or on Twitter @dylan_segelbaum.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Ex-Lyft driver charged in shooting in York: DA drops serious charges

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