OSCEOLA COUNTY — A jury found Everett Miller guilty last month of murdering Sergeant Sam Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter. Now, the Osceola County NAACP has written a petition to judge Greg Tynan, “urgently” requesting Miller not be sentenced to death. 

Almost 300 people have signed it, people like Rinda Dumas a distant cousin said her grandmother and Miller’s great grandmother were sisters.

“We’re all a very close knit family,” Dumas said.

Dumas said she does not think Miller should be put on death row.

“I am not in agreeance with the death penalty -- two rights don’t make a wrong,” Dumas said.  

Dumas believes during the trial Miller did not have a strong defense, and they did not bring up the positive side of his character, like having served as a Marine for 23 years and being deployed seven times.

“But we noticed when he came home this last time, there was something different about him,” Dumas explained. 

A month prior to the killings, Miller was Baker Acted for marching down a public road with a rifle in his underwear. The petition said after Miller was released from Park Place Behavioral Health Care, Miller’s mom begged police to keep his firearms, but instead his guns were returned to him. 

Dumas said the situation is sad for all three families involved but still believes her cousin should get a second chance.

“You certainly have to be accountable for your actions but let him make a difference in someone’s life while he’s in prison,” Dumas added. 

We requested an interview from the police chief, but he declined at the request of the State Attorney's Office.