Victim's parents 'in a rage'
Chris Durant/The Times-Standard
Eureka Times Standard
Article Launched:01/10/2007 04:30:17 AM PST

Marines back leniency for corporal

While Cpl. Kelly Miller is attending a Medal of Honor Ceremony at the White House Thursday, the parents of his one-time girlfriend vow to continue their campaign to make sure Miller is held accountable for the accident that severely injured their daughter.

Miller, raised in Eureka, has two felony charges pending against him for the September accident in which Kellyn Griffin suffered severe injuries. Her parents say she still hasn't fully recovered.

”Our daughter is the girlfriend he (Miller) has injured for life,” wrote Michael Griffin, Kellyn Griffin's father, in a letter to the Marines. “She has visible scarring that will always be there to remind her of the accident.”

Michael Griffin said he and his wife, Gayle, are upset with the Marines for encouraging Miller's colleagues to write to the Humboldt County Superior Court judge asking for leniency in Miller's case.

”It just puts us in a rage,” Michael Griffin said.

Last weekend's Wall Street Journal printed excepts from one letter, from Lance Cpl. Robert B. Bullard.

”This Marine has only to begin his life,” Bullard wrote. “To rob him of what he has done for me, my platoon and country would not only be morally incorrect but a criminal act against a mistake.”

The paper also printed a message written by Maj. Trent Gibson after the accident.

”For those who haven't heard, Cpl. Miller had another near-death experience this last Sunday,” the message reads. “He's *******ed lucky. Let's all give him a phone call ... or shoot him an e-mail ... and let him know that were care about him and that he's got to keep his head on straight if he's going to make good on the gift that Cpl. Dunham gave him.”

Thursday's Medal of Honor Ceremony is for Cpl. Jason Dunham, who covered up a grenade during an altercation with a man in Iraq in 2004, saving Miller and another Marine's life, but losing his own.

Michael Griffin said he heard from the Marines for the first time Tuesday. The Marine he spoke with said he was unaware of the severity of Kellyn Griffin's injuries and that it may take a month before any decision is made on punishment from the Marines.

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Zach Bird said Miller is facing a felony charge of drunken driving with injury and felony personally inflicting bodily injury.

He will next be in court Jan. 25.

Miller allegedly drove a sports car over 100 mph, according to estimates by investigators at the scene, lost control, sheared a telephone pole 20 feet off the ground and clipped the roof of a nearby building.

Kellyn Griffin was thrown from the car.

”How sad the armed forces have become, writing to the judge in support of a drunken driver,” Michael Griffin wrote.

Michael Griffin, who lives in the Bay area, said his daughter has since moved back to Arcata and is currently not talking to him