Justice for Tyler

Last week in a ‘good Christian family’ a 13 year old boy named Tyler was murdered.  By all accounts Tyler was sweet, obedient, and compliant young man.  But apparently he was not perfect.  Last week he made a mistake of some kind.  Because of Tyler’s mistake, his father tied him to a tree overnight as punishment.  In the morning he let him go but the next night he tied him up again with his step-mother’s full knowledge.  Later that day Tyler was found unconscious and all efforts to revive him failed.

I am furious about what happened to Tyler.  For the last few days the Bible verses Tyler’s parents must have used to justify his actions have played over and over in my head.  There’s ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’.  There’s ‘children obey your parents’.  There’s the one about the father taking his rebellious son outside the village to be stoned for his disobedience in the name of God.  I wonder if those verses played over and over in Tyler’s head as he was tied to that tree.  I wonder when he realized his young life was slipping away.  I wonder if and when he stopped believing that his dad was good.

I believe God too is furious about what happened to Tyler.  When the Judeans killed their children in the name of religion God was furious enough to give His chosen people over to the hand of the uncircumcised Chaldeans.  He said:  “They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”  God did not command Tyler’s parents to tie him to that tree.  It had not even entered God’s mind that they could do this horrible abomination.  It was a sin beyond God’s imagination.  A sin that demands justice.  I want justice for Tyler.

May God give us all eyes to see.  To stand in the gap for the Tylers in this world before it’s too late.  This episode was far from a momentary lapse in judgement.  Parents don’t suddenly decide to tie their children to trees.  Abuse, like every other sin escalates as you feed it.  The rush of power and sense of control abusers get from their crimes override rationality like any other drug.  Reports are that Tyler’s dad was ‘scary’ and that he made people feel uncomfortable.  If you as a grown man or woman feel afraid around someone, just try to imagine how a small child must feel when trapped with that person behind closed doors.  

I’m planning to start a series of posts here cataloging the symptoms of child abuse and what you should do if you suspect it may be happening.  It’s not justice for Tyler, that’s in God’s hands now.

*edited on 1/20/2009 to change ‘mother’ to ‘step-mother’*

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48 thoughts on “Justice for Tyler

  1. Yes, yes, yes….we need this list to make people aware of child abuse…there is something people can do…no, must do if they suspect abuse…how very tragic what happened to Tyler, it too makes me angry at the injustices perpretrated against innocent children….and it makes me weep….

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  2. There is good and there is evil in this world; and inside each one of us. The child, just a baby relative to his 40 year old parents, was loved by many, especially by God. The author of the article above got it right; “Abuse, like every other sin escalates as you feed it.”

    Feed the good, starve the evil! We all have the potential for acting on angry impulses or control issues, but it dies when you starve it. Feed the good. Discern and report anything that makes you fear for a child’s well being. They can’t fight for themselves, even at 13.

    It’s hard to read stories like Tyler’s. What a beautiful innocent boy. What a tragic loss.

    My son is also 13 and even resembles Tyler. So sad, so senseless.

    May the Lord bless Tyler’s extended family with peace in their loss. May He ease the pain and fear of the surviving siblings in this frightening time of confusion. May He have mercy on the souls of all involved, and May He hold Tyler close in His perfect heaven.

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  3. Thank you KayMac for taking the time to stop your busy life to read, to comment here, and to mourn for Tyler. May we all hold our own children just a little closer and treat them with grace and mercy.

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  4. All I can do is cry. I read about this terrible tragedy in the newspaper. Why wasn’t I there to stop it. Why wasn’t anyone there to stop it. I want to do something. I want to go to his funeral, but it’s too late. The only thing I can do for Tyler now, is cry.

    We all have a responsibility to stop child abuse. Be aware of the children in your neighborhood. Watch after them. Tyler didn’t know it but I loved him.

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  5. Rhonda, Tyler knows you love him now. Sometimes we really don’t know or believe child abuse is happening until it’s too late.

    The heart-wrenching thing about Tyler’s story is the idea that he had all day to run away before being tied up again. That’s the piece that’s keeping me up at night. I think he must have let himself be tied to that tree. From my own experience I would suppose that he believed God was in on his punishment. That his parents were standing in for his Creator.

    If you get a chance today, tell a child that parents answer to a higher authority and that God doesn’t approve of abuse.

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  6. HI, I am a mother of 2 young boys. One is 7 and the other is 13 months. There is nothing in this world they could ever do to force me to tie them to a tree for 18 HOURS. What were they thinking. There have been times that I have wanted to scream and felt I could loose control but that is when as a parent you walk away and cool off. It seems as though once a week we hear of a tragedy like this. They are innocent children who can’t fight back or defend themselves. It is just so senseless and pathetic. I have followed this story and ahve heard several people state that they new this family and the father was such a caring and nice young man. Excuse me???? Are you seriuos???
    We need tougher laws against child abuse. Maybe some of our congressman need to look into some other countries and their punishment for mental, physical, and sexual abuse against a child abuse and get some pointers.
    It is just so hard to understand. My husband and I just recently redidicated our lives and I still have moments when I sit and question why??? Why God do you let this happen and how can your forgive for something like this??? I wish I had the answers but truth is I dont nor does anyone else. My heart just breaks to picture that poor child tied to a tree in the dead of night. Most 13 year olds are scared of darkness of night anyway. I remember the news coverage of this story and seeing the ants all over that tree and I just sobbed. There was no excuse for what they did…
    I did want to say that the past few days that I have read I about this I found out that this boys mother passed away of breast cancer. It gives me some kinda peace to know that he is safe in his mothers arms now.

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  7. Thank you for posting your comment here. I am frankly very encouraged that this post has gotten so much traffic and so many comments. Tyler’s story is a wake up call for all of us and it is good and right that we stop and get angry and mourn. May God put our anger to it’s proper use — to fight for children who are not safe.

    God bless you Tamarshope, KayMac, Rhonda, and Crystal.

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  8. I knew Tyler’s biological mother. Her boys were the light of her life, her pride and joy.
    What keeps me up at night is thinking about something she told me when she was so sick –
    She said she was not worried about herself -and especially not her boys because they have such a wonderful dad and extended family. She said she was sad for all the times she would miss and worried for Brice.
    He was by her side every step. What in the world could happen to result in this?
    It is just unimaginable.
    I just take comfort in knowing Michelle was there with Tyler to wrap her arms around him and shield him from the suffering. He is safe with her now.
    I am sad for Tyler’s extended family – especially his grandparents. Brice’s parents adore those boys and I know they (and Michelle’s parents) are absolutely devastated.
    They are all in my prayers.

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  9. I never knew Tyler’s dad to be scary – but I just wonder if Michelle’s death sent him to a dark place. I have also heard he had been enduring a great deal with his second marriage to Tyler’s stepmother – but all of that is simply people talking and only God knows the truth so I have to leave it to Him to decide.
    I guess it’s just when you know someone in one light, it is virtually impossible to accept something of this magnitude.

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  10. Thank you for remembering and for posting here. I didn’t know Tyler at all and yet his story haunts me because I see an echo of my story in his. There was a time I believed in my parents and their God-given authority to discipline me however they saw fit. There was a time I would have submitted to any ‘punishment’ they decreed. I imagine Tyler’s friends and family are suffering grief beyond words.

    Something you said echoes in me, when you know someone in one light, it is virtually impossible to accept something else. That statement sums up the central problem with the type of child abuse that is hidden, denied, lied about, and covered up. The abuser, the friends and family of the abuser, and even the victim of abuse ‘know’ the abuser as good. And they truly can be good in many ways.

    I’m comforted somewhat to know that Tyler has been reunited with his mother. May his short life serve to make us all more sensitive to the children around us. There may have been nothing anyone could have done for Tyler, he may have never Told anyone what was happening. I didn’t know him. But many children Tell and yet aren’t really heard. I think those of us who heard about Tyler will always have ears to hear.

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  11. Protection Agents Fail Again
    No Holiday Dreams for Latest Dead Children

    In song and seasonal sentiment, we think of “visions of sugarplums” and toys in the thoughts of children everywhere awaiting Christmas morning.

    With Santa on his way, gifts under Christmas trees and families bonding, children worldwide have the same dream. They should be safe enough to keep hope and themselves alive.

    This year these children named lost any dreams of teddy bears under the tree or a cuddly puppy that jump out from wrapped box. They lost Christmas Present and every Christmas Future they should have been protected to enjoy.

    There are no more dreams for many. Those dreams died for children who were neglected to death. They were officially in the care of their state’s child protection unit’s agents.

    Some were returned to the care of violent family members or timid ones with impulsive companions. Many were in the homes of paid strangers and died at their hands.

    Far from celebrating safely with family, those children’s voices call out from small graves to those who truly care about child welfare Why does a judge’s signature send so many children to die in homes carelessly checked with rare, if any, monitoring?

    A partial and short list of recent names contains:
    Julian Herring 3-year-old – Amariana Crenshaw 4-year-old – Jordan J. Primus 1-year-old – Xavier Simmons 3-month-old – Madyson Bogard 4-year-old – Jahyr Holguin 5-month-old – Matthew Thomas 4-month-old – Blake Rupee 14-month-old – Faith J. Ray-Samantha Dionne Foster 2-year-old – Katelynn Stinnett 2-year-old …… and sadly many…many more

    Learn more about them and other Unnecessary Angels at Protected to Death: http://suncanaa.com

    Every year, inspired by each next child’s death, legislators pass laws, make promises, offer show-stopping budget bills. Eventually the headlines die down, people resume their ordinary lives, and the only change is in names of the latest victims of the system.

    Often repeated warnings are conveyed to protection agency staff and others. Nearly always some relative, neighbor or godparent has begged to rescue the child from known danger. Why not save a life while saving taxpayers shame and useless costs?

    The silence is deafening. Community support is woefully lacking, perhaps backed off by claims of “confidentiality” even over the awful number of corpses that keep appearing.

    This is not a Silent Season for the rest of us. Is there someone to speak for children so that their unfinished lives do not slip silently away? Dead children cannot form a PAC (political action committee) or hire a ghost lobbyist.

    If hundreds and hundreds of predictably and preventably dead children is not enough to inspire action, what is? If you choose not to act, who will? If not now, when?

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  12. Tyler’s death was brutal and I don’t know if we will ever learn the whole truth. I do know that Tyler and his brother were never abused prior to the father’s marriage to the stepmother. I do know that the stepmother’s daughter was never physically abused. I do know that the boys were isolated from their family, friends, church and school. The stepmother decided to homeschool the boys and eventually they moved off the family land. I really doubt that Brice had much to do with any of the abuse but he did not stop the abuse that happened – that we will never understand.

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  13. Close if you are close to the family it must be devastating for you. Even though I didn’t know Tyler I am still haunted by what happened to him, especially since he was murdered in the name of Christian discipline. It absolutely breaks my heart.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.

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  14. I am a member of Tyler’s family, and I am terribly worried about whether or not Tyler will ever receive the justice he deserves. A Judge in Edgecombe County saw fit yesterday to allow Sandra McMillan to post bail so she can get out of jail. Brice sits in jail ready and willing to accept all blame for what happened to Tyler and let Sandra go free.
    I do not hold Brice blameless in this matter, what he did was reprehensible. But I have known Brice since the 1980’s and I never suspected that he would allow this to happen to his own flesh and blood. To my knowledge, he never abused the boys before Sandra came into the picture. From day 1 after they were married (and a big hearty thank you to eHarmony.com for that!!!), she sought to alienate Brice and the boys from their family. She wanted them to have no connections, no one to turn to for help. She is a control freak who had to have complete control over every aspect of their lives. She also wanted to eradicate anything from their lives that preceded her. Mickie’s personal items were either thrown in the trash or given away to strangers – not to Mickie’s family or Brice’s family. It is my belief that Sandra even extended her desperate need to eradicate all memory of Mickie to the boys. If she couldn’t break them to her will, she was going to eliminate them. Tyler was very close to his mother, and that must have bugged Sandy to no end. Tyler also knew that what they were doing to him was wrong. He tried to get help from a youth minister at a church they attended for a short while. Unfortunately, that youth minister went to Sandy and Brice instead of the authorities. They forced Tyler to tell the youth minister that he had lied. I shudder to think what punishment was meted out for that “infraction”. Sandra did everything she could to alienate them all from their loved ones. But eventually even that was not enough – family members were starting to ask questions – so they moved to that hell-hole in Macclesfield so that no one could see what they were doing. And the end result was that she eliminated Tyler – end of her problem there. And Brice sits in jail ready and willing to take all the blame. As I said, I do not hold him blameless. But I do not believe that he would have ever done any of this without Sandra pushing him into it. She is the instigator in this matter. She is not an abused spouse -Brice was. Just exactly when Brice lost his “spine” I’m not sure. He should have been a man and stood up to her and said no, this is wrong. But he did not. They are both equally guilty. It does not matter which one of them tied Tyler to the tree – they both knew that he was there and left him there in the 100+ heat, breathing in the acrid smoke from the fires in Pocosin, for over 18 hours. I can’t think of anything a 13-year old boy could do that was bad enough to merit such “punishment”. All Brice will say is that he was disobedient. Tyler was not a bad boy; on the contrary, I always found him to be a good boy and a loving human being. I will miss him for the rest of my life, as I will regret not being able to help him. Had I known what was going on … but I didn’t. My heart cries out for true justice for Tyler, and that can only happen if both Brice and Sandy do meaningful jail time. Life in prison seems reasonable to me. They deprived that child of at least 70 years of his life, so theyshould spend that amount of time in prison.
    Many people have wondered why there hasn’t been much in the press about this case. The truth is that Sandy’s lawyer has gotten a gag order on everything to do with this case. It is in Sandy’s best interest that people “forget” about this – then she is most likely going to walk away, scot free. We must not allow this to happen. Justice for Tyler!

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  15. js – First of all, I want to thank you for what you wrote.
    Second, I want to let you know that I want to take some time to process what you said and write a response to your post. Please be patient with me.

    Peace,
    Lisa

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  16. Lisa – take all the time you want, and feel free to ask me questions if you have any. I want Tyler to have justice in this world that he has left behind. I went back and re-read your initial posting and wanted to make a comment about the Bible verses. Brice wasn’t the one quoting scripture to justify his actions – Sandy was. She used the Bible as a weapon. She had Brice convinced that she was the most godly woman he’d ever met because she could quote scripture at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, he didn’t stop to think that so can Satan. When she was supposedly home-schooling the kids, she would call Brice home from work several times a day to “discipline” the boys. We didn’t know this was happening until afterwards. Many people may look at what happened and wonder why the family did not step in to prevent this. Believe me when I tell you that we had no idea things were like that. Because we weren’t able to see the boys or talk to them, we just didn’t know. The few visits we had with the boys from the time Brice and Sandy got married until Tyler died (3 times in almost 1 1/2 years), we were NEVER alone with the boys – Brice and Sandy were always there. They kept telling us that they were trying to come together as a family and we all needed to be patient. I also raised a step-child, so maybe I should have known that it just doesn’t take that long to come together as a family – at least it didn’t for me. I knew when I married that the marriage came with a child, and I accepted it as that and grew to love the child unconditionally. But Sandy apparently was not able to do that – her love came with strings. And those strings were apparently total, unquestioning obedience. If you are the moderator of this site, you have my e-mail address and can contact me directly if you would like. I wouldn’t mind.

    js

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  17. Tyler’s cause on FaceBook now has 50 members! It is both a loving tribute and a positive effort to see justice done within our legal system. We must never forget what happened to Tyler and must work together to stop the spread of child abuse.

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  18. Thank you for posting that site. Someone made a suggestion there to organize a ride or other event for Tyler. How can we make that happen? How else can we let people know about what happened to Tyler so that it will never happen again?

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  19. Update, Sandra McMillan will be released this week on a $200,00. bond. She will be permitted to live in Cary with a cousin who also has a young child residing there. Is our court system so weak that we would permit this? Has this woman not done enough harm to her two step-children and who knows what psychological damage her daughter will have? Who will control how much contact she can have with her daughter now? Telephone calls, internet contact and letters can convince that sweet little girl that she saw nothing.

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  20. UUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you know who we can write to or call to protest this injustice? Perhaps the judge or even the DA? If we flood them with our feedback they can then complain and petition the court saying ‘we’ve had hundreds of phone calls’. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye and let this slide. This woman is a danger to all children. Her freedom puts her in a position to coerce the young witnesses in this case and strengthen her position.

    Thank you for the update.

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  21. Anyone can contact the DA but good luck getting through to him or the judge. If enough of the public and the media would push things so the gag order was dropped, people could be more aware of the tragedy that is unfolding. I ask everyone to pray for her little girl so that one day, her life may become normal. This mother seems to always manage to manipulate everyone around her. Hopefully no other child will come under her control.

    Someone had mentioned a motorcyle rally to make the public more aware. We don’t want what happend to Tyler and his brother, forgotten.

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  22. Maybe we need a lot of people to write a letter to the Editor of the newspaper in Cary – warning people that this woman is going to be living in their midst. The newspaper in Cary is called The Cary News (www.carynews.com), it’s owned and operated by the {Raleigh} News & Observer (www.newsobserver.com)

    You can check out the cause Justice for Tyler McMillan (at last count we had 221 members) on Facebook at

    http://apps.facebook.com/causes/194397?m=7bf7bab2

    You can also go on WITN’s website (the NBC affiliate in Greenville where Tyler grew up, and the TV station where his REAL MOM used to work) and vote in their poll:

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.witn.com%2Fhome%2Fheadlines%2F41024227.html&h=32012d3af7f5edef68bec9c94522d447

    We need to get the word out! Tyler needs Justice!

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  23. Thank you for posting that. I voted in the poll. I’m thinking now about how to word a letter. I think it we should all write to the paper, the judge, and the DA.

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  24. I wrote a letter to the Editor of the Cary newspaper. We’ll see if they dare publish it. I pretty much laid it all out there.

    Thanks for voting in the poll. The vast majority of people who voted think she should not have been able to post bond and get out of jail.

    I also suggested to the Cary newspaper that they publish a story about Sandy living in their city. Lord knows I wouldn’t want her living next door to me. She has caused my whole family irreparable harm and unending grief. I am convinced that she is an evil woman. I just don’t know how some people can be so hateful – especially to an innocent child. And to do it supposedly in God’s name – that’s evil.

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  25. I know that everyone on this site,the MYSpace Page, etc, all want justice for what happened to Tyler. The question is, how many of us are truly willing to do something? We need to innundate the lawyer, Toby Fitch and the DA, Steve Graham. Why does a person who has a felony breaking and entering, have a much higher bond posted? I do not know why the justice system would let her out on bond. If I remember correctly, didn’t she try and run in between the time her husband was carried to jail, and before they found her? Is it fair to the child living in the home where she will stay, or to her daughter who may be permitted to come to NC and have unsupervised visits with her mother? Why would the justice system let a parent have any unsupervised visits with a child who may be called to testify against them? If Sandys’ daughter is in any type of therapy, wouldn’t her therapist object to it? What about the grandparents who should have her best interest at heart? All I can ask is that ANYONE AND EVERYONE that truly cares, write your letter and let your feelings be known. It will only take a minute of your time, but it might change the entire life of Sandy’s daughter.

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  26. Has anybody thought about putting together a flyer and distributing to the neighborhood residents that Sandra went to live with the cousin? Those people deserve to know who is living next door! If it is a cousin, and anybody has access to her parent’s last name, then they may be able to track down the location that way. Does anybody know the cousins name? Was it mentioned in court?

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  27. RV we have to work through the system. We have to be careful not to cross the legal and moral line.

    So far we have: The Carey News and the Edgecomb County DA to write to. We can speak for Tyler and cry out for justice to be done. If we get the address or phone numbers we can post them here. If the DA got a thousand phone calls he would have to take notice. He is an elected official after all.

    Also, someone mentioned contacting major news networks to be sure they are aware and that this case doesn’t slip through the cracks. It makes no sense for Sandra to have contact with ANY children, especially her daughter who may need to testify against her!

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  28. Tearsinabottle-I absolutely agree, we don’t want to cross any legal or moral lines. However, it is absolutely beyond me how Sandra could be released to live in a neighborhood without the neighbors being aware so they could keep an eye on their own children. Who knows, perhaps the justice system did alert the neighbors. If they did then that is good, if they didn’t then shame on them. I also agree that what others have mentioned about a letter writing campaign is probably the best and proper way to pursue the case at this point. Sending letters or making phone calls to the Judge, DA, papers and news stations. Make and keep them aware that many people are following this case and want to see adequate punishment served. As for the surviving children, I pray that whoever is in charge of their wellbeing take adequate precautions to protect them from their parents. It is sad to even have to make such a statement about a child, but in this case it is a harsh reality!

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  29. I think – unfortunately – notification is only for convicted sexual offenders but I could be wrong about that. Actually now that I think about it that doesn’t make sense to me – why shouldn’t violent crimes against children be in the same category? I certainly agree with you about protecting these children from their parents.

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  30. https://tearsinabottle.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/two-letters-i-invite-you-all-to-write/

    To everyone who cares about Tyler and believes in justice. Please write and call:

    Howard S. Boney, Jr. is the district attorney in Edgecombe County. His address is
    Edgecombe County – Tarboro Office
    Phone: (252) 823-7350 Fax: (252) 641-4322
    P.O. Box B
    Tarboro, NC 27886

    Judge Milton F. Fitch, Jr.
    c/o Judicial District 7 – Edgecombe County
    Clerk of Superior Court
    Edgecombe County Courthouse
    PO Drawer 9
    Tarboro, NC 27886
    [Courier Box 07-51-09]
    (252) 823-2056 (Tarboro)
    (252) 977-6565 (Rocky Mt.)
    Fax #: (252) 823-1278 (Tarboro)
    or (252) 977-2666 (R.M. Judicial Ctr.l)

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  31. I haven’t posted here in a while. The last few times I tried, I was unable to do so. But I’m going to try it again.

    There has been some discussion on another website about what to do to honor Tyler on the coming anniversary of his death.

    There is another custody hearing coming up on Tuesday, June 16th. Brice and Sandy will most likely be there. Brice will be coming into the courthouse (in Tarboro) through the jail since he is still incarcerated. Sandy will be coming in through the front door since she is out on bail. It has been suggested that we have as many people as possible on the front steps first thing in the morning to show solidarity. It was also suggested that everyone who can gather there bring a balloon and all of the balloons can be released at one time. I think this is a fine idea.

    Since I do not live in the Tarboro area and I work full time, I cannot be there on the 16th. But don’t let that stop any of you! I would love it if everyone who is in the greater Tarboro area would show up on the courthouse steps and let everyone know you want Justice for Tyler McMillan!

    The membership of Justice for Tyler McMillan has exceeded expectations and hopes! They hoped to get to 1,000 members by June 12th. They are actually are at 1,084 members right now, and attained their goal a couple of weeks ago. There are members from as far away as Scotland!

    I am so proud of all of those who have joined this cause – you know that child abuse is a CRIME! We need to get the word out to even more people – the courts need to know that child abuse is NOT ACCEPTABLE and we believe that child abusers are criminals and should be treated as such.

    If you haven’t already done so, please invite all your friends and family on Facebook to join the cause. Write letters to the DA and Judge in this case and let them know how you feel. Do whatever you can to help obtain Justice for Tyler McMillan!

    God bless you all.

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  32. Just a thought here – since Sandy is out on bail and presumably has access to the internet, what are the odds that she’s reading this blog? My bet is that she is, and with that thought in mind:

    Sandy
    DO THE RIGHT THING! You have caused enough harm to innocent people. At the upcoming custody hearing, let them terminate your parental rights. In your heart of hearts you KNOW you ARE NOT a fit parent, even for your own daughter.
    When your murder trial comes to court, PLEAD GUILTY.
    Take your punishment like an adult – don’t be a spoiled little child who tries to lay all the blame on someone else. YOU KNOW YOU ARE GUILTY!
    Understand that it doesn’t matter who did what to those children – you both knew what was going on and NEITHER ONE OF YOU did anything to prevent it. You and Brice both need to own up to what you did and live with the consequences.
    One day, you will face GOD ALMIGHTY. You may be able to fool people on this earth, but GOD ALMIGHTY knows you have a black heart and HE will deal with you accordingly.
    DO THE RIGHT THING, AND THEN TRY PUT YOURSELF RIGHT WITH GOD.

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  33. At 7:00 p.m. on June 12, the 1 year anniversary of Tyler’s untimely, cruel death at the hands of Sandy and Brice McMillan, some of his family members will gather at his graveside and release balloons in memory of Tyler. We all miss him so much. Anyone reading this, please feel free to join us by releasing a balloon wherever you are in his honor. He was a good kid.

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  34. 1 Year Anniversary
    Around 7 pm on 6-12-09, many of Tyler’s family members gathered together at his graveside to remember him. We let loose approximately 40-50 balloons. It was a sight to behold, all those balloons rising up in the sky.

    I’ve had several reports from others who also chose to honor Tyler’s life in this way. A cousin went out on the levee on New Orleans to release balloons. An Aunt and cousin released them in the Virginia/DC suburb area. An Uncle released some where he works in Virginia. A friend who never even met Tyler released some in the Chicopee, Massachusetts area.

    Thank you to all who did this for Tyler. We sincerely appreciate it. If anyone reading this also chose to release some balloons last night, please let me know!

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  35. Tyler’s father, Brice, copped a plea this morning. He has not admitted to any wrongdoing, however. The plea he accepted is called an Alford plea. I had to look that up on the internet to see what it was and this is what I found:

    “Definition: In the law of the United States, an Alford plea is a plea in criminal court. In this plea, the defendant DOES NOT ADMIT THE ACT AND ASSERTS INNOCENCE, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty.

    Upon receiving an Alford plea from a defendant, the court may immediately pronounce the defendant guilty and impose sentence as if the defendant had otherwise been convicted of the crime. However, in many states, such as Massachusetts, a plea which “admits sufficient facts” more typically results in the case being continued without a finding and later dismissed.
    It is the prospect of an ultimate dismissal of charges which engenders most pleas of this type.”

    Once again, he shows that he has no backbone. If he was a just and upright man, he’d admit what he did and allowed to be done to his sons. My understanding is that he took this plea with the contingency that he will testify AGAINST Sandy when she comes to trial, and that he WILL BE SENTENCED after her trial. So he will at least be getting something of a jail term. I have been told that his sentence will be no less than 94 months (less than 8 years) but no more than 196 months (about 16 years) . Even if he gets the minimum (which I hope DOES NOT HAPPEN), he will be in jail until his youngest son is no longer a minor. I hope that he and Sandy both get the maximum – even that is not long enough in my book. They sentenced Tyler to death and carried out the sentence. They cannot have shown any remorse or they would plead GUILTY.

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  36. I have put together a sample letter that I am asking everyone who reads this blog to send to the DA in this case.

    Howard S. Boney, Jr.
    P.O. Box B
    Tarboro, NC 27886

    Dear Mr. Boney,

    Last summer I was one of thousands of Americans (and even people in EUROPE and CANADA!) who heard about the murder of Tyler McMillan on the news. Since then, I have not been able to put what happened to this child out of my mind. Any parent or step-parent who can commit such a crime is beyond comprehension. They have certainly shown that they are not fit to raise children and they should not get a second chance at it. If we don’t do everything we can to make sure that Tyler gets justice, we are just as bad as those who ignored his cries for help.

    On June 15, 2009, it was reported on the news that Brice McMillan entered an Alford plea. Like most people, I didn’t know what this was and had to be told that it means that he isn’t pleading GUILTY, he is simply acknowledging that there’s enough evidence that he could probably be found guilty by a Judge or jury. To me, this means that he is not showing any remorse for what happened to his son – his own flesh and blood! People who show NO REMORSE deserve NO MERCY. I hope that you can help ensure that Brice gets the maximum of 196 months in jail (if that IS the maximum) for his part in this heinous crime. Even that is not really enough – Tyler was most likely denied another 70 years of his life and his killers could get as little as just under 8 years or as much as just over 16 years? That is NOT justice. That is brutally unfair! Brice and Sandy callously sentenced Tyler to death – and they BOTH carried out that sentence. Tyler’s sentence cannot be commuted. Neither should Brice or Sandy’s sentences – they should do the maximum time.
    It has been very discouraging that Sandy has been allowed out on bail since January. She showed Tyler no mercy, and no mercy should be shown to her. Please, please DO NOT allow her to plead this case down. Please do everything in your power to make sure that she gets the most jail time possible. She does not need to be out among decent people – and she certainly does not need to be able to have any contact with either of the surviving children until neither one is a minor any more – and preferably not even then.
    I am only one of many, many people who want Justice for Tyler McMillan. We must do what we can to make sure Tyler’s killers are put away for a long, long time. Please do the right thing. The world is watching.

    Sincerely,

    Your name

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  37. So far we have 90 signatures on the petition. If you haven’t done so already, please sign it and send it along to all your family and friends. Time is of the essence in this matter!

    Thank you!

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  38. Sadly, I have to report that the DA in Edgecombe County allowed Sandy to enter an Alford plea today (6-29-09). So she doesn’t have to admit she did anything wrong either. She also paraded out some witnesses to prove to the Judge before sentencing that she was a battered spouse. If anyone was a battered spouse, it was Brice, not Sandy. I do not think the Judge believed it. Brice and Sandy were both sentenced today -Brice will serve a minimum of 125 months (about 10 1/2 years) and a maximum of 159 months (13 years 3 months). Sandy is to serve a minimum of 157 months (13 years 1 month) and a maximum of 198 months (16 1/2 years). For the life of an innocent child who they beat, starved, and tortured to death.

    Bernie Madoff swindled people out of money (granted it was a lot of people and a lot of money, but it was JUST MONEY) and he got 150 YEARS. Not months, YEARS!

    This tells me that we place little or no value on the lives of our children. What a sad place we have come to that as a society our children are not worth more than that to us. It’s sad and unbelieveable.

    It was not the justice Tyler deserved, but sadly it’s all that he will get.

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  39. I didn’t know about the McMillans’ sentencing at the time but when my husband told me about the Bernie Madoff result I said the same thing! We as a society value material wealth over our children. Sadly, the sentencing Brice and Sandy received is probably longer than average for parents who murder their children. Society still minimizes this crime and looks the other way the majority of the time. If there had not been so much national attention on this case I wonder what the sentence would have been. I suspect it would have been much less. Still, I am grateful that they received close to the maximum out of the legal range of 8 to 16 years. There is no price they could pay that can undo what they did. But thankfully they will not be out of prison until their surviving children are old enough to stand up for themselves.

    Thank you js for letting us know the result. I hope you find peace in knowing that you did very difficult and effective work to make sure Tyler got as much justice as possible.

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  40. Tyler would have started high school this year. One more thing he was cheated out of because of Brice and Sandy. So many things he will never get to experience – and that his family will never get to see him do. He has a 1 year old cousin who will never get to know him. Tyler’s brother started middle school last week; at least he’s still here to have all the experiences Tyler will miss out on. Such a shame. Miss you Tyler!

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  41. js I have been wondering about you and how you are doing. I’ll be thinking about Tyler this week too. I’m so sorry for the loss you’re suffering.

    Peace,
    Lisa

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  42. Tyler would have just finished his first year of high school. He would most likely have gotten his driver’s permit last November, and would be looking forward to getting his license this coming November.

    Saturday it will be 2 years since he was so cruelly murdered by Sandy and Brice.

    Miss you and love you so much Tyler!

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