FORT WAYNE – Katie Miller came to court in a green and white polka dot dress. She went to jail in it, too.
Tuesday night, an Allen Superior Court jury convicted Miller, 22, of battery with a deadly weapon, criminal recklessness and failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in injury. Only the battery charge is a felony.
According to testimony and court documents, Miller ran down and then ran over her ex-boyfriend, causing a compound fracture to his lower left leg. She then drove off, leaving the young man screaming in agony in a dark parking lot.
Allen County Deputy Prosecutor Patricia Pikel opened her case with a pair of 911 calls – one from a stranger who stopped to help the victim, heard screaming in pain in the background.
The other was from Miller, about an hour later, at 1:30 a.m. Sept. 22.
In that recording, Miller asked why the police had towed her car.
The dispatcher told Miller that an officer would be out to speak with her.
Miller paused on the line. But why was it towed, she asked. Can I call (the officer)?
No, the dispatcher told her. He wants to come out and talk to you.
Um, Miller paused again. OK.
Her ex-boyfriend, 21-year-old Arthur A.J. Zick testified about a volatile relationship that was on-again, off-again for more than 2 1/2 years. He told the jury that Miller was often physically and verbally abusive, battering him emotionally and physically.
I cared for her, he said. I felt like I could overcome the bad to have the good. Miller would often come around again after her new boyfriends would leave her, Zick said.
Late in the evening on Sept. 21, Zick said, Miller contacted him, asking to hang out. He said that was fine but asked her to pick him up at a party, take him to pick up his puppy at a friend’s apartment in St. Joe Place student apartments and then take him home.
Before the couple arrived at the apartment complex – across from Canterbury Green and near the IPFW campus – they argued inside Miller’s PT Cruiser.
On a security tape played for the jury, Zick is seen getting out of the car in the parking lot, and Miller raced around to the passenger side, pushing the bigger man across the parking lot while he held his hands in the air.
But he left his cellphone in the car, and before he could get it back, she locked the doors and refused to let him inside. It was my lifeline, he said. She said it’s mine now’ and started to drive away.
As Zick tried to stop her from driving off, Miller repeatedly bumped into his shins with the car, scooting him around the parking lot.
Off camera, however, things took a more dangerous turn.
Zick said she rammed him harder, pushing him up onto the hood. He grabbed the wiper blades, but fell to the ground as she hit the brakes.
His left leg got caught in the bumper.
I felt it pop, he said. I heard it pop.
Zick said he tried to slide out of the way, but Miller gunned the engine and ran over his leg, causing the compound fracture.
As he hollered himself hoarse trying to get her to stop, Zick said she drove away, taking his phone. Passing strangers stopped and called paramedics on his behalf.
He ended up with a plate and screws inside his shin. A few weeks later, pressure built up inside his shin, requiring another surgery, he said.
As he recuperated from the surgeries, Zick said, Miller called him, telling him she was going to get away with it and then, later, asking him to drop the charges in return for reconciliation.
I still can’t believe she did that to me, he said.
Throughout the daylong trial, Miller sat nearly motionless and expressionless at the defense table.
Without health insurance, Zick sued Miller in December for causing his injuries.
Before the case could move forward, and before she even responded to the lawsuit, Miller filed for bankruptcy, citing largely her student loans and an unknown amount owed to Zick, according to court records.
Miller testified later in the day Tuesday, and the case went to the jury in the evening. They returned their guilty verdicts around 9 p.m., according to Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull.
After the verdicts were read, Gull ordered Miller’s bond revoked and had her sent to jail. She will be sentenced next month and faces two to eight years in prison.