US

Texas Man Gets Life Sentence for Abduction of 2 Sisters

By The Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas—A man accused of fatally beating a Central Texas woman, kidnapping her daughters and sexually assaulting one of them for five months was sentenced Tuesday to life in federal prison.

Terry Allen Miles, 45, was convicted in February of several charges, including two counts of kidnapping.

Authorities discovered the body of the mother, Tonya Ellen Bates, during a welfare check at the home she shared with Miles in Round Rock near Austin in December 2017. The check had been requested after she didn’t turn up to work.

According to court documents, upon conducting the welfare check at Bates’ residence, authorities located the deceased body. Bates appeared to have suffered from blunt force trauma.

“CEO Jeremy Barclay says they’re grieving for her loss and prayed for the safe return of her daughters, who were taken by roommate Miles,” FOX7 reported.

Authorities believe Miles beat her with a heavy flashlight. Her eldest daughter, then 14, testified that she saw Miles punch her mother and knock her to the floor. She said Miles later came to her with blood on his clothing.

Miles was not charged in the mother’s death.

After the beating, Miles fled with the girls, then aged 7 and 14, investigators said. Sheriff’s deputies traced a cellphone used by the girls to catch up with them a few days later near La Veta, Colorado, a remote area in the southern part of the state.

Terry Miles and 2 sisters
14-year-old Lilianais “Lilli” Victoria Cake Griffith (L), Luluvioletta “Lulu” Mariposo Bandera-Magret (C), Terry Allen Miles (R). (Colorado Bureau of Investigation/Facebook)

Miles also was found guilty in February of transporting a minor with intent to engage in sex and of interstate travel with intent to engage in sex with a minor.

Prosecutor Michelle Fernald said at trial that Miles met the teenage daughter earlier in 2017 when she was visiting her father in Louisiana. Fernald said he groomed the girl by paying her special attention and making her feel important, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

After returning to Texas, the girl exchanged nearly 1,000 phone calls and texts with Miles from August to September of 2017.

Fernald said Miles convinced her mother to allow him to move into their home to serve as a nanny of sorts for the girl, who was being home-schooled, and her sister. Prosecutors say he engaged in sexual relations with the older girl over a five-month period.

Terry Allen Miles 2
Terry Allen Miles. (Colorado Bureau of Investigation/Facebook)

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick told The Associated Press following Miles’ conviction that he was charged with the federal crimes, rather than the state crime of murder, because those were the strongest charges prosecutors could bring at the time of his arrest.

Miles’ defense team had argued that he was diagnosed with a mental illness and that he should receive a lesser sentence because his illness made him less culpable.

‘Well Known For Domestic Abuse and Drugs’

Miles has a history of domestic abuse. He was arrested four times between 2009 and 2015 on domestic abuse charges, three of which led to convictions.

In 2011, he was arrested in Louisiana on second-degree murder charges but the charges were dropped. He is still considered a person of interest in a 2014 homicide and a 2015 rape case in Calcasieu, Louisiana, according to TV station KPLC.

“He’s a man well known amongst law enforcement for multiple cases of domestic abuse and drugs,” Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said, according to KPLC.

Epoch Times reporter Holly Kellum and NTD News staff contributed to this article.