A dispute over a mattress left in the garbage in an Abilene, Texas alleyway turned deadly earlier this month, and newly released footage of the incident shows the intense moments that led up to a father and son allegedly gunning down the unarmed victim.
John Miller, 67, and his son, 31-year-old Michael Miller, have been charged with killing their neighbor Aaron Howard, 37, on Sept. 1, the Abilene Police Department announced earlier this month.
Police said the men had been fighting over garbage in the alleyway for days leading up to the shooting. The elder Miller brought a handgun and his son brought a shotgun to confront Howard after he left a mattress in the trash.
Howard’s common-law wife Kara Box caught the tense altercation and shooting on cell phone video.
“I stepped in between Aaron and John (Miller), then my ears started ringing from the gunshots,” Box told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I just screamed and screamed.”
She told the publication that she and her husband threw the twin mattress in a dumpster in their alley a few days before the shooting.
“You have to have the mattress in the dumpster or they will not haul it away.”
The day of the shooting, she said the mattress was back on their property. Howard brought it back in the dumpster only to have John Miller pull it back out and dump it on their property again, Box claimed.
“That’s when John (Miller) pulled a pistol out of his shorts,” she said, adding that children were present. “Aaron goes into pappa bear mode. A man has just pulled a gun on his wife, his brother, his nieces and nephews.”
The cell phone video shows both sides getting heated. There is yelling and death threats. Howard threatens to kill the Millers. At one point, Howard shouted, "You pulled a gun in front of my kids over a f---ing mattress."
Then, the younger Miller can be seen aiming his shotgun. At least four gunshots are audible and then Box begins screaming.
The father and son were arrested after the shooting. Both were charged with murder. They were released after posting $25,000 bail. It’s not clear if they have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
[Photo: Abilene Police Department]