UPDATE: Milner gets life without parole

Child killer will never get out
Courtney Astolfi
Aug 8, 2014


UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: Judge Roger Binette sentenced Michael Milner to life without parole today for the 2012 killing of 3-year-old Owen Barker. 

Check back here for updates

A judge will decide today what penalty to impose on the Sandusky man responsible for the death of his girlfriend's three-year-old son.

Michael Milner, 26, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder earlier this year for the 2012 beating death of Owen Barker.

Milner will be sentenced to prison this afternoon, at the conclusion of a lengthy hearing intended to help Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger Binette decide just how long to put Milner behind bars.

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Four options are on the table: life without parole, or life with the possibility of parole after 20, 25, or 30 years.

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter previously recommended Milner be sentenced to one of the latter three possibilities, but the final say ultimately rests with Binette.

To better inform that decision, two days worth of court proceedings were set aside for family members, victims, and other involved individuals to speak about Milner and the circumstances that led up to Owen's death.

On Wednesday, Milner's mother, twin brother, his mother's boyfriend, and a cousin all spoke of the boy “Mikey” once was, and the troubled path he embarked on early in life.

The relatives each acknowledged the rocky home life Milner endured as a child and in his teens — but each relative also addressed Milner's desire to do right by his then-girlfriend's young son, Owen.

“Anyone (who) takes the time to...get to know Mike will tell you that he's a very loving, (emotional) and sometimes goofy young man that has a big heart. I don't know exactly what happened, but I do know that Mike never meant to harm Owen, that he loved that little boy and he has regretted his actions that night since the split-second it happened,” Milner's mother told the court.

After the relatives made their statements, Angela Wiley, a mitigation specialist with the state public defender's office, was questioned by the defense attorney, prosecutor and judge.

Wiley was tasked with reviewing Milner's life — had the death penalty case gone forward without a plea deal being reached, Wiley would have testified about everything from Milner's school life, to friends, to family life and his criminal past.

At defense attorney John Parker's prompting, she shared numerous details about Milner's past, including the alleged toxic environment in which Milner's father was raised, and failed counseling efforts during Milner's youth.

However, when Baxter had the opportunity to question Wiley, the prosecutor focused on the various and conflicting versions of what Milner claimed happened the night Owen died.

Baxter also brought up old bruises found on Owen, indicative of ongoing abuse, as well as multiple threats Milner has allegedly made against the himself and a Sandusky police detective.

Proceedings then broke for the day, but will resume this morning at 8:30 a.m.

At that time, a psychologist will address the court, as will family members of Owen.

A final sentencing decision should be reached by the end of today. 


sandtown born a...

It has to be his upbringing I'm sure, he's regretting his actions awwwww!!! He killed a child LIFE NO PAROLE PERIOD let him fight the rest of his life in prison

my oh my

There should be NO options on the table. Owen didn't have any options in the murder...


Easy to be regretful after the bad act. We must ALL be responsible for our actions, and stop blaming others. A child is gone forever. No second chances for him.

Julie R.

Whatever the scum gets the mother should get the same. Even a rat will protect its young. What a horrible short time on earth that child must have had.


We all make choices every day and have to deal with the consequences of those choices. He had a choice, now he must pay for it. I cannot believe they would even consider the possibility of parole for this man.


WOW! The mom should have gotten the same if she hasn't yet.


Good. Wish he'd actually fry, but the rest of his life will be hell, just like what he put that sweet boy through.


Got one right!!!!!


Definitely the right call. I'm tired of the "troubled past" excuse for committing crimes.

lunchtime 175

Milner got what he deserved. It is so sad when a child is killed, let alone anyone. People need to think before taking actions that sometimes turn out to be the worst decision they could of ever made in their life.

Tsu Dho Nimh

A lot of people have had rough upbringings and never abused a child, let alone killed someone. The family needs to stop with the excuses.


Perfect sentence. Death would be to easy, no parole is great ..day after day after day.... suffer !


The mother is BLIND. Loving and killing a toddler don't go hand in hand. EVER. Never meant to hurt him? Anyone with a brain knows that you don't "accidentally" beat a child TO DEATH. I went to high school with this so-called "man" - once an idiot, always an idiot.


Got it right this time !! Now give his pathetic mother the exact same.
They should both rot in hell for what they did to that baby.


Thank you Judge Binette!

Mom of 2 boys

Isn't is Judge Roger Binette? Not Robert...

Tool Box

Hopefully bubba gets a turn!


Good, thank you for the appropriate sentence.


Can only hope he'll hold the white elephant or get the broom like Jeffrey Daimler.

red white and blue

Should have fried him


I have mixed feelings on this. He pleaded guilty, saved the time and money of a trial. Did that save him from the death penalty,maybe. I think parole after 30 years would be fair, but his defense attorney should have made a plea deal for it. A shame all around, one life gone, one alive with no life to speak of. My best wishes for both families.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Do you honestly think children would be safe around him in 30 years?


WHY would 30 years be fair? That child did not have 30 years. He KILLED the child. A child that did NOTHING. He beat him to death, for what? Crying? Wanting something to drink? Eat? Being tired? He killed a child for being a child, because he was not MAN enough to handle it. Now, he can sit in prison and never see the light of day.


Take a chill pill, I was not defending him.


No but you think it would be fair to let him out after 30 years. He would be what, 50something. Technically could father a child. Be a step-father. Grandfather. Probably with a shorter fuse. Not something that should be around any child. Do you really think he learned his lesson? Remember every in his defense said it was a product of his up-bringing. He will never "un-learn" it.


I think its fair that he be able to ask for parole, not that he would. Depends on what he does with his life in the next 30 years. Are you some sort of expert on him?

Bada Bing

Good call judge Binette!

Julie R.

Why are you applauding Binette? All he did was follow the law, which is a miracle in itself.

The Answer Person

Children having children.