Sunday, February 29, 2004

FORT WORTH, Texas — Though most convicts fight to win parole, one Fort Worth murderer seems to prefer prison life.

For the third time since he was convicted of killing a Fort Worth cheerleader in 1982, Wesley Wayne Miller, 41, was paroled to the Tarrant County Jail here Wednesday after mandatory release from the state prison. He was to have stayed at the jail until he found a job and a place to live.

Less than six hours later, after Miller refused to participate in a sex-offender counseling program, the county sheriff called state prison officials and told them to “come get him.”

State Department of Criminal Justice officials quickly moved him from the county jail to a holding facility, where he will stay in an isolation cell until a parole revocation hearing can be held, probably within the next few days.

Miller would not comment yesterday, but on a prior — and similar — visit here, he said, “I’m not going to waste my time doing that. I don’t need it.”

In 1982, Miller was convicted of murdering former classmate Retha Stratton, mutilating her body with 38 stab wounds. Two years later, he pleaded guilty to a charge of unrelated burglary with intent to rape for a 1981 crime. He was sentenced to 25 years on the murder conviction and 20 years on the burglary charge. The sentences ran concurrently.

Under mandatory-release guidelines passed about 40 years ago, state prison officials must discharge Miller when the time he has served, plus “good time” he has earned, equals the 25-year sentence.

In 1991, Miller was released on parole, but a few months later, he was charged with stalking a woman and stealing in Wichita Falls and was taken back to state prison.

In 1998, he was released again and was to spend six months in the Fort Worth jail until he could find a home and a job. Before he could step outside for his first interview, he refused the sex-offender counseling, and his parole was revoked.

In October 2001, Miller was released again — back to the jail here, with another revocation shortly afterward for the same refusal.

His refusal and the upcoming revocation hearing surprised Rona Stratton Smith, sister of the 1982 murder victim.

“I’m surprised that he doesn’t at least put out an effort,” said Mrs. Smith. “He said he doesn’t want to be treated unfairly, but he doesn’t put out an effort to comply.”

Miller will be eligible for release without supervision in 2008.

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