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Lancaster Teen Pleads Guilty to Murdering Disabled Sister

16-year-old Claire Miller from Manheim Township pleaded guilty but mentally ill to a third-degree murder charge for fatally stabbing her 19-year-old sister on Feb. 22, 2021. Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright sentenced her to 12.5 to 40 years in prison following a hearing. At the hearing, an expert doctor’s report detailing Miller’s mental illness was incorporated into the record, and Judge Wright admitted it. Miller stated that she had been treated for depression and an unidentified psychotic disorder, and she was on medication, during the guilty plea process. She was determined to be mentally ill but not mentally disabled. Miller did not provide any additional statements when given the opportunity to do so.

On Feb. 22, 2021, Miller called the Manheim Township Police Department and reported that she had killed her sister, according to police. When they arrived on the scene, Miller was outside, waving the police down. She directed them to a bedroom where they found her sister with a stab wound to her neck. Her sister was pronounced dead by the Lancaster County Coroner’s Office. Miller repeatedly stated “I stabbed my sister,” and blood was found on the snow outside and on her pants.

Miller’s petition to move the case to juvenile court was denied in July 2022 by Judge David Workman, and she was ordered to be tried as an adult before pleading guilty but mentally ill. While all homicides are tragic, District Attorney Heather Adams said that “this case was particularly sad because the victim was her own sister and unable to defend herself.” Adams also stated that Miller suffered from a mental health event at the time of the offense, but it legally did not excuse the conduct. The sentence imposed today holds her accountable for the crime committed, but balances the nature of this offense, her young age, her mental condition at the time, and the protection of society.

Comments

Samuel R Welsh 1945-2024

Samuel was an avid sportsman all his life and enjoyed both playing sports and watching them on the television. He enjoyed playing golf.

Betty Marie Miller 1937-2024

Betty worked for 36 years in the Alumni office of The Mercersburg Academy. She enjoyed travel, knitting, and spending time with family and friends.

M Marie Trostle 1919-2024

She enjoyed sewing, baking, cooking, babysitting and crocheting. She especially enjoyed quilting, where she made over 40 quilts and gave them to her family.

John Harvey Hoffman 1941-2024

John enjoyed target shooting, fishing and was known for telling great stories. He was also very proud of his family and enjoyed spending as much time with them as possible.

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