The recommendation of death was, as it had to be legally, unanimous.
After beginning deliberations on the sentence after lunch, the jury delivered its recommendation at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. Judge Greg Tynan did not formally sentence Miller Wednesday; he will later decide to follow the jury’s recommendation or instead sentence Miller, 48, to life in prison without parole.
During the sentencing phase, state prosecutors portrayed Miller as a cold, calculating killer who ambushed them on the night of Aug. 18, 2017 at the intersection of Cypress and Palmway Streets in Kissimmee just north and east of the intersection of Orange Blossom Trail and Vine Street.
Miller did not testify in his own defense in the trial or sentencing phases. His defense team argued that he was a well-adjusted, decorated Marine, but did not transition well to civilian life after leaving the service, and eventually lost a job, home and relationship. They chalked up Miller’s actions that night to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sadia Baxter, Matthew Baxter’s widow, made a short statement on the courthouse steps after the jury’s recommendation.
“For those who supported us, I wish I could give you all hugs,” she said. “Finally me and my girls will be able to move forward and close this chapter. We will never forget about our heroes. To (lead prosecutor) Ryan Williams, you are a part of our and Sam’s family, we’re forever grateful.”