The popular Palm Beach Gardens band teacher who was arrested three years ago for sexually assaulting four girls at H.L. Watkins Middle School is about to complete his first month in a Miami-Dade County prison.
Heath Miller, 37, pleaded guilty in March to one count of sexual battery of a minor and three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison and eight years of probation and is barred from unsupervised contact with children.
In his prison mug shot, Miller looks thinner than he did when he went to jail in 2009. His head is shaved and his left arm decorated with a tattoo of a Tazmanian devil.
Miller is the son of a prominent Belle Glade family and attended Howard University in
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Washington, D.C. In February 2009, long before the Trayvon Martin case put Florida's "stand your ground" law in the spotlight, Miller shot and killed an armed man who broke into his Wellington home. Strangers hailed him as a hero for defending his wife and his home.
But two months later, Miller was accused of raping a 16-year-old, having sex with a 14-year-old, and hugging and groping two other students. (Read the full New Times investigation of his case here). Speaking to a police detective, Miller cited the shooting as a factor in his downfall.
"I haven't quite got my mind right since February 16," Miller said. "A man took six shots at me, and I killed him. And ever since then... I almost feel like I shouldn't have made it out of there. And I've been acting like that."
When he's released from prison, Miller will have to give up his teaching certificate and register as a sexual predator.