70 yrs. for man ratted out by mom
She wore wire to get his account of unsolved murder


February 10, 2007
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter

A mother who implicated her son in an unsolved murder, then secretly recorded conversations with him for police, sobbed loudly in court Friday as he was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

"My baby," Paulyn Miller said softly several times as her 30-year-old son, Terrance L. Miller, was hammered with a prison term that will likely keep him behind bars for life.

Terrance Miller wasn't even in the Wheaton courtroom when a DuPage County judge imposed the sentence -- he had refused to attend the hearing.

His voice was heard as prosecutors played a chilling videotape in which he bragged to police that he was smart enough to be a "Wall Street genius or a lawyer" but chose instead to be "a thug and a criminal."

Probation for forgery charge
Terrance Miller was convicted last December of first-degree murder for gunning down 25-year-old Ezra Harvey during what police say was a bungled robbery by Miller. Harvey was shot in the head at his Woodridge apartment, authorities said.

During questioning by Woodridge police, Miller denied committing the killing but bragged that he was a career criminal.

"I did this for a living for many years -- I robbed people," said Miller, during interviews with Woodridge police in January 2005. "All I did was rob people."

Harvey's 2001 murder remained unsolved until Paulyn Miller was charged with forgery in November 2004. She offered to provide information on Harvey's killing, then implicated her son in the slaying, authorities said. She secretly recorded two conversations about the killing with him for police before his arrest in January 2005.

After he was charged, Paulyn Miller, as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors, received probation for the forgery charge she faced.

'She raised a criminal'
DuPage County prosecutors sought a 75-year prison term for Terrance Miller, saying he couldn't be allowed out in society because he is too dangerous. After serving a sentence for a 1997 armed robbery, Terrance Miller had been out for less than two months when he killed Harvey.

"Terrance Miller needs to be taken out of society. He needs to be warehoused. He needs to know he will die in prison," said prosecutor Steven Knight.

Judge George Bakalis seemed to agree, imposing a 70-year term as he called Terrance Miller's statements to police "amazing."

Paulyn Miller, 57, refused to comment on the sentence or say Friday why she attended her son's hearing.

But one of Harvey's relatives had harsh words for her.

"She's a criminal, and she raised a criminal," said the relative, who didn't want to be identified, as family members left.

Harvey's mother said she's simply relieved that Terrance Miller is behind bars.

"I'm relieved it's over," said Juanita Harvey. "I'm not happy about it because my son is dead."

drozek@suntimes.com