Teen now trying to clear name: PN-G terror threat suspect claims innocence
According to a lawyer for Triston Miller, the 17-year-old who is accused of making a terroristic threat last week at a high school plans to fight the charges and clear his name.
Miller was a student at Port Neches-Groves High School before he was arrested on the eve of the Columbine school shooting anniversary and accused of threatening to shoot teachers and students.
However, according to Beaumont attorney Dustin Galmor, his client was only talking about the attack, not planning his own.
“Triston has seen a news video memorializing the event recently on the Internet,” Galmor said, in his press release. “Triston brought up the topic and the other students discussed it with him. All of the students agreed that a person would have to be crazy to commit a crime as horrible as the Columbine shooting. At no point in the conversation did Triston or the other students threaten anyone.”
However, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Port Neches Police Detective Jesse Fournet, a vice-principal at PN-G got heard something very different from a student who allegedly reported Miller’s threats.
According to the affidavit, Miller allegedly “talked to other students about shooting up the Port Neches-Groves High School on the anniversary of the Columbine School Schooling. … Miller went into detail about shooting students after lunch in a certain hallway because they would be trapped. … A month ago, Miller told another student he wanted to buy a gun. Miller told witnesses what teachers he wanted to kill first and what students he wanted to kill. Four students witnesse(d) Miller talking about shooting people at the school. … Miller tried to recruit two students to help him.”
The affidavit goes on to say that, when questioned, Miller denied making any threats.
It is not clear where the discrepancy could have come from or whether the student who reported the threat was doing so in an attempt to get Miller in trouble. In a phone interview, Galmor said he only knows what Miller has said and what is included in the affidavit.
“Well, it’s hard to say at this point,” he said. “We have not been given those statements. We don’t know what another student said. All we know is what Tristan did or did not say.”
In his letter, Galmor said his client is a good student who cares about other people and mentioned his 3.7 GPA as evidence.
Galmor added that Miller grew his hair out long with the intent of donating it to Locks of Love.
“Triston was recently invited to represent Port Neches-Groves High School at the 2017 National Student Leadership Conference at Rice University,” said Galmor, in the letter. “He was also accepted into the National Honor Society in March, 2017. He was unable to attend the April 23, 2017 ceremony due to this incident.”
In fact, according to the letter, Miller has been expelled.
“This has been a horrible and unimaginable experience for Triston, the letter says.
“Triston’s focus now is to clear his name of any wrongdoing,” the letter concludes.
According to the sheriff’s office, Miller bonded out of county jail April 20.
However, Galmor said the trial is likely months away and it’s not clear if even a not-guilty verdict will mend his relationship with the district.
However, for this school year that ends next month, the damage is likely done.
“I can’t speak for the school but I doubt there’s a process he can return to school this year,” said Galmor, during the phone interview.
Miller would be wrapping up his junior year at the district, but Galmor said he may never return to the school, regardless of the outcome of the trial.
“Because he was so ambitious and participated in AP classes, I think they’re exploring the possibility of finishing high school and going to college.”