(UPDATED) Milner pleads guilty to aggravated murder

Child killer could face life in prison
Courtney Astolfi
May 28, 2014



A Sandusky man pleaded guilty Tuesday to the 2012 beating death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old child.

Michael Milner,  26, of Fulton Street, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder Tuesday afternoon in an Erie County courtroom, avoiding the possibility of the death penalty.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to drop charges of murder, felonious assault and child endangering.

Milner will now face four possible sentencing decisions at his Aug. 7 court hearing: life without parole, or life with the possibility of parole after 20, 25 or 30 years, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said.

Though Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette will have the final say in that ruling, Baxter agreed to not ask the court for life without parole — that is, he is recommending Milner be sentenced to one of the three latter possibilities.

Prior to Wednesday's hearing, prosecutors spoke with Owen's four grandparents — Hope and Tim Barker, along with the parents of Milner's co-defendant, Danielle Flannery — who signed off on the deal, Baxter said.

Though Milner's case did not ultimately progress to trial, those affected by Owen's death will have the opportunity to speak before he's sentenced.

Binette said the court is reserving two full days for that hearing to give Milner, family members and others ample time to make statements.

“I want to hear all sides before sentencing,” Binette said.

Milner was direct at the hearing, occasionally answering questions before Binette was quite finished asking them. The only time his voice wavered and turned despondent was when he reached the phrase “I plead guilty.”

The courtroom, meanwhile, was nearly filled — multiple prosecutors and defense attorneys, several Sandusky police officers including Chief John Orzech, relatives of Owen's father, Kyle, and a group of those there for Milner himself.

As he was escorted from the room, Milner told the group “I love you guys,” with one man responding, “love you too, Mike.”

Milner has been behind bars for nearly two years. On July 30, 2012, Owen died from a fatal blow to the chest. Investigators later learned the child suffered heavy internal and external bruising to his head, lungs and abdomen.

Owen's mother, Flannery, was at work that day and allowed Milner to babysit at their Fulton Street home.

Milner maintained Owen slipped and fell on a toy, but officials determined the boy suffered abuse numerous times prior to his death.

Flannery, 23, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony permitting child abuse charge in December. In late February, Binette sentenced Flannery to 11 years in prison.

Click HERE for past stories about the murder

Click HERE to read about a local biker group riding in Barker's honor




Stop It

I'd be bettin' on life with parole in 15 to 20 yrs. I don't care what they say.


I hate this - I hate that this stuff can happen.....and it will again ang again! That sweet sweet litlle boy.....


This scumbag should get the death penalty.

Einfach genug III

Well if the uncle & grandpa on the mother's side have have any sense of justice, he will be served in 10-20 years upon his release from protective custody aka prison, (just wondering).

Stop It

There should be laws against pleading out. Make the prosecutors do their job.

Coram Deo

From an earlier Register article:

"Autopsy results showed Owen suffered heavy internal and external bruising to his head, lungs and abdomen, in addition to the injury to his chest.
Milner has been charged with aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault and endangering children.
He could face the death penalty if convicted of the aggravated murder charge."

So he "agreed" to plead to the aggravated murder charge which carries a death penalty...but it looks like the death penalty has been taken off the table? How does that work again? He brutalizes a 3 year old little guy and is allowed to live? Where is the justice in that? If no death penalty then this guy should never, ever see the light of day.




Absolutely agree!!!!


Why does it take so long for sentencing in these cases makes no sense


There will be no justice for Owen with a guilty plea. Although I pray that Milner suffers each day of his life in prison.
I am not sure why prosecutors accept pleas like this, if its a money issue and time in court costing citizens thousands of dollar to get a guilty judgment, then so be it, because now he will get better benefits than those who abide by the laws, again costing tax payers thousands of dollars, its a no win for the victims. Sorry Owen, its not suppose to be like this. This thinking has to stop. Our lawmakers need to revisit the penalties of allowing plea bargaining involving deaths of young children.

Sal Dali

Open and shut case, why a plea agreement? A jury wouldn't have let him off so easy. If the courts don't seek justice for these murdered children, then who will?

red white and blue

I say they should have give NO DEAL! DEATH PENTLEY!


This line here "along with the parents of Milner's co-defendant, Danielle Flannery — who signed off on the deal" I think bothers me the most out of all of this. I know there was always the possibility that he was going to end up with only getting a life sentence over the death penalty anyway had this case actually gone to trial but the fact that Owen's mother was allowed any say in this case just makes me furious!!!! She allowed this monster to inflict the abuse that killed her little boy, she stood by and did nothing, she let him treat that baby like a piece of yesterday's garbage but yet she was consulted about whether or not it was ok for him to be allowed to plea down to aggravated murder from his original charge which also kept him from the death penalty. Nice!


This idiot deserves to rot. Stupid plea deal.


our justice system protects criminals.


To kill somebody by beating them requires up close, personal, and serious effort. To kill a CHILD by beating them also requires an extraordinarily cold mindset! I don't believe that the latter can ever be "cured."

I believe that punishment not only needs to fit the crime but needs to protect society. In this case, I don't believe Milner will ever NOT represent at least SOME threat! He should never, ever, EVER be free among the rest of us again! EVER.

he said she said

I won't get on my soap box because I knew sweet Baby Owen, his mother and this POS.

I have to think to myself that he will become another Dahmer...killed in prison. People in prison do not like people that hurt children so he is a marked male anyway. I can't use man because a man would not say 'he (Owen) started it'.

RIP Owen...you are gone but will never be forgotten!!

sandtown born a...

That was actually a statement Milner made? He started it?

Sal Dali

Are you serious? Milner actually said that and the family consented to a plea agreement?

he said she said

I read the comment in a post but now the post has been removed. It was in another news article and I said something about it in my post.