For nearly three years, Heath Miller sat in jail without facing a jury. In April 2009, the once-popular band teacher at H.L. Watkins Middle School in Palm Beach Gardens was charged with sexually assaulting four of his eighth-grade, female students. His arrest came as a shock to many in the community. Just months earlier, he had been hailed as a hero for shooting and killing a masked intruder who broke into his Wellington home.
Miller, 37, was a favored son of Belle Glade, his mom a former mayor, his dad the owner of a funeral home. The allegations that he molested teenaged girls in his band room stood in stark contrast to the reputation he had built as a charismatic teacher and mentor to kids. He pleaded not guilty to felony charges of sexual activity with a child, lewd and lascivious molestation, and tampering with evidence.
Initially, Miller was denied bail, partly because he was accused of tampering with
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evidence. But Palm Beach Circuit Court Judge Karen Miller reversed that decision in December, and in January, Heath Miller posted a $200,000 bond.
"The reasons that she [the judge] had held him previously were no longer valid," says Miller's attorney, Mark Wilensky.
Miller is now out of jail, wearing a GPS ankle bracelet pending a trial scheduled for March 26.