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
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"The reasons that she [the judge] had held him previously were no longer valid," says Miller's attorney, Mark Wilensky.
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Miller is now out of jail, wearing a GPS ankle bracelet pending a trial scheduled for March 26.