Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Man to Judge: “I’m not dead”

Back in the 1980s, Donald Miller Jr. was tired of his life of alcoholism, joblessness and debt – so he skipped town. A decade later, when no one had heard from him a court ruled him legally dead. Turns out he wasn’t.

But Miller has found that simply walking into a courtroom isn’t enough to convince the law that he’s still alive. In a recent hearing, Hancock County, Ohio Probate Court Judge Allan Davis maintained that the law provides for only three years to contest the 1994 death ruling. Davis admitted it was a “strange, strange situation” but felt he had no choice but to rule against Miller’s request to have his life back. “I don’t know where that leaves you, but you’re stll deceased as far as the law is concerned,” he said.

In court, Miller explained that after fleeing Ohio he lived in Florida and Georgia: “It kind of went further than I ever expected it to. I just kind of took off, ended up in different places.” When he moved back to the Buckeye State in 2005, his parents told him he’d been declared legally dead.

In a strange (but understandable) twist, Miller’s abandoned wife Robin opposed the move to reinstate her ex-husband’s life. She told the court she doesn’t have the resourcs to pay back Social Security for the payments she received on behalf of herself and the Millers’ two children in the wake of Donald Miller’s “death.”

Miller’s next step on the legal road to reincarnation is to petition the Social Security Administration. His attorney told reporters that Miller may not have the funds to pursue it.