72-year sentence upheld for teen convicted in convenience store murder

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the decades-long sentence against a then-teenager who killed a convenience store clerk during an attempted robbery.

In 2016, then-17-year-old Tyler Miller shot and killed Khushwinder Singh while Singh was working as a clerk at a Cumberland Express Mart convenience store. Miller and a co-conspirator entered the store with firearms and declared they were robbing the store, with Miller shooting Singh in the chest moments later.

Miller was charged with murder, felony murder, Level 2 felony attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, Level 3 felony robbery resulting in bodily injury and Level 5 felony battery by means of a deadly weapon. He was ultimately convicted of murder, Level 5 felony attempted robbery and Level 3 felony robbery and given the advisory sentence for murder, with a total aggregate sentence of 72 years.

On appeal, Miller argued his abstract of judgment and sentencing order should be corrected to reflect a conviction of attempted robbery under Count III, not robbery, and that his sentence should be reduced in light of Indiana Code § 35-50-2-1.3.

The appellate court agreed with the former argument and remanded for an amended abstract of judgment and sentencing order that would reflect Miller’s conviction for attempted robbery as a Level 5 felony under Count III, noting the jury had found Miller guilty of attempted robbery.

But on the latter argument, the appellate panel rejected Miller’s assertion that I.C. 35-50-2-1.3(c) prohibited the trial court from imposing a sentence above the advisory for Miller’s conviction for Level 5 felony attempted robbery because it ordered that the sentence be served consecutive to his other sentences.

“The language of Ind. Code § 35-50-2-1.3(c) to which Miller points appears to be rendered obsolete by the current wording of Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(c),” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the appellate court. “To the extent the language of Ind. Code § 35-50-2-1.3(c) was not rendered obsolete, we note that, in light of (Robertson v. State, 871 N.E.2d 280, 285-286 (Ind. 2007)), the phrase ‘the appropriate advisory sentence’ in Ind. Code § 35-50-2-1.3(c) is a reference to Ind. Code § 35-50-1-2(c) and (d) and that those sections do not prohibit the trial court’s sentence here under Count III.”

Lastly, the appellate court found Miller’s sentence was not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his crimes, noting that the killing was “senseless” and that Miller went on to participate in an additional armed robbery after killing Singh.

“Miller received the advisory sentence for murder and consecutive sentences, which were enhanced but not to the statutory maximums, for robbery and attempted robbery. After due consideration, we conclude that Miller has not sustained his burden of establishing that his sentence is inappropriate,” the panel concluded.

The case is Tyler Miller v. State of Indiana, 19A-CR-768.

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