The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 24, 2013

Man gets 30 years for murder

BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL bhuchel@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — A Danville man will spend almost 30 years in state prison after pleading guilty to a 2012 shooting death.

Derrick L. Miller, 34, appeared in Vermilion County Circuit Court Friday and formally entered into a plea agreement with county prosecutors.

As part of the agreement, Miller entered a guilty plea to a single charge of first-degree murder. In return for the plea, Miller was sentenced to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He must serve all of the sentence.

The plea agreement comes less than a year after a warrant was issued for Miller’s arrest in the shooting death of 19-year-old Scotty Polk on Dec. 9.

Witnesses told police that the shooting came about as a result of Miller being angry with Polk regarding a handgun. Police testified early on in the case that Miller entered a home on East Williams Street where Polk was sitting and fired at Polk.

In a taped confession to police, Miller said he fired once, striking Polk in the leg. When Polk got up after being hit by that bullet, Miller told police he fired twice more at Polk. Polk dove through a rear window of the home and fled.

A man was walking around 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the area of Lape Street and Fairweight Avenue when he heard a person groaning and discovered Polk lying in the street. Polk was taken to Presence United Samaritans Medical Center where he died a short time later as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

A warrant was issued Dec. 10 for the arrest of Miller, charging him with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting. He was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Kansas City, Mo., at the beginning of January and returned to Vermilion County the following week.