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April Tinsley's killer sentenced to 80 years, 30 year old case laid to rest

The sentence was in line with a plea agreement. Miller pleaded guilty to murder and child molestation earlier this month.

Posted: Dec 21, 2018 11:51 AM
Updated: Dec 22, 2018 4:18 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- Emotions ran high in a packed Allen County courtroom Friday as John D. Miller was sentenced to 80 years in prison for the rape and murder of 8-year-old April Tinsley. 

The sentence was in line with a plea agreement. Miller pleaded guilty to murder and child molestation earlier this month. 

Miller took Tinsley from her Williams Street neighborhood back in 1988. Her body was found in a Spencerville ditch a few days later. 

Back in July, Miller was arrested at his trailer in Grabill after DNA found in used condoms in his trash was matched to DNA found in April's underwear, and to DNA found over the years. 

April's family members took turns giving statements in court Friday about how the case has changed their lives. Two cousins said their childhoods were never the same, and they raised their children in a sheltered world, fearing for their safety. 

April's mother, Janet Tinsley, said she still remembers the day like it was yesterday, and said April's death deeply affected her younger brother, who was two at the time. 

After the sentencing, Tinsley said they're glad they're finally seeing closure, but nothing can bring April back and the family feels numb right now. 

Janet Tinsley also said the family is working on pushing what she called, "April's Law." 

Allen County Prosecutor, Karen Richards, was also emotional giving a statement in court. Richards paid tribute to the two generations of detectives that have worked the case, noting three who have carried April's picture in their pockets. 

Richards also spoke on why the death penalty was not an option in this case saying, in some cases, it can take up to 30 years for someone to be executed.

She noted 59-year-old Miller's failing health and said, "He won't live another 30 years," adding he will die in prison. 

Miller's defense attorney read a statement in court from Miller saying he feels deeply sorry for what he did to April and the community. He said Miller wishes it had never happened. 

Tinsley's 30 year old murder coming to a close marks one of Judge John Surbeck's last cases. 

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 701971

Reported Deaths: 13187
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion958051716
Lake51105939
Allen38867670
Hamilton34212404
St. Joseph33638539
Elkhart27021431
Vanderburgh22016393
Tippecanoe21602212
Johnson17408373
Porter17157297
Hendricks16711310
Clark12640190
Madison12287337
Vigo12139244
Monroe11336166
LaPorte10760204
Delaware10288184
Howard9606211
Kosciusko9051113
Hancock7922139
Bartholomew7839153
Warrick7671155
Floyd7533176
Wayne6871198
Grant6755168
Boone6517100
Morgan6362138
Dubois6068117
Marshall5743108
Dearborn566975
Cass5668102
Henry5558100
Noble536983
Jackson491869
Shelby476895
Lawrence4324118
Gibson426889
Harrison426070
Montgomery416286
Clinton415053
DeKalb405483
Huntington376480
Whitley374939
Miami371365
Knox364889
Steuben361357
Putnam351760
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Ripley333268
Jefferson310779
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Daviess288699
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Greene269985
Posey268133
Scott259853
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LaGrange250970
Randolph234380
Washington230329
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Sullivan207342
Starke201152
Owen191456
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Jay185529
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Rush170224
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Franklin165135
Tipton160843
Parke143716
Blackford132631
Pike130034
Pulaski112945
Newton102834
Brown99340
Crawford96914
Benton95613
Martin82215
Warren78715
Switzerland7698
Union69510
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1045945

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1214131352
Cuyahoga1060882061
Hamilton778281165
Montgomery49815988
Summit45000907
Lucas39675760
Butler37582568
Stark31296894
Lorain24038472
Warren23805291
Mahoning20777583
Lake19885362
Clermont19387228
Delaware17933130
Licking16066206
Fairfield15618196
Trumbull15500459
Medina14787259
Greene14593236
Clark13542288
Wood12664184
Portage12277194
Allen11281229
Richland11001198
Miami10500212
Muskingum8676127
Wayne8523209
Columbiana8515226
Pickaway8414120
Tuscarawas8347239
Marion8342135
Erie7509153
Ross6687145
Hancock6666123
Geauga6520146
Ashtabula6436164
Scioto6271100
Belmont5578158
Union555147
Lawrence5454102
Jefferson5271147
Huron5265113
Darke5256121
Sandusky5158119
Seneca5084118
Washington5056107
Athens497454
Auglaize473984
Mercer470084
Shelby454689
Knox4363108
Madison420458
Putnam419398
Ashland411586
Fulton406266
Defiance399496
Brown384855
Crawford3848100
Logan371976
Preble369298
Clinton359359
Ottawa354278
Highland345759
Williams321674
Champaign317856
Jackson306151
Guernsey305348
Perry289249
Fayette276748
Morrow274139
Henry262866
Hardin262663
Coshocton257857
Holmes252399
Van Wert238562
Gallia232946
Pike232331
Adams227152
Wyandot225553
Hocking208458
Carroll188547
Paulding168238
Meigs141138
Noble132537
Monroe128741
Morgan106423
Harrison104936
Vinton81314
Unassigned02
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