RINGWOOD, Okla. — A 16-year-old Ringwood boy charged as a youthful offender with murder in the shooting of his stepfather earlier this month was granted bond at a court hearing Tuesday, May 19, 2020, his attorney said.
Attorney Stephen Jones said Landon Michael Miller was posting a $10,000 bond granted by a Major County judge following a hearing Tuesday morning. The conditions of the bond include Miller remain at the home of his grandmother and not leave except for medical/counseling or court appointments.
Miller was charged May 4, 2020, as a youthful offender with a count of first-degree murder-deliberate intent. As a youthful offender, Miller will face the same consequences as an adult defendant and a punishment range of death, life in prison without parole or life imprisonment.
An affidavit filed in the case states Miller had argued with his stepfather Kristan Newton the evening of the shooting Sunday, May 3, and at 8:06 that night, Major County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call to respond to a shooting at 269215 E. County Road 51 near Ringwood, according to the affidavit.
Major County Deputy Nick Holdeman was the first to arrive and found Newton dead in the yard of the home with his wife, Monica Miller, beside him.
Monica told Holdeman her son Landon shot Newton, according to the affidavit. Deputies found Landon with his biological father, Charles Miller, detained him and recovered a a .22 caliber rifle from Charles Miller's pickup. OSBI agents, who responded at the request of the Major County Sheriff's Office, recovered .22 caliber casings near Newton's body.
Special Agent Trevor Ridgeway interviewed Newton's wife and Miller's mother, Monica Miller.
Monica said Newton and Landon argued that night over a damaged four-wheeler, according to the affidavit. Monica said she saw Newton lightly push Landon, and it caused Landon to take one step backward. She said the push did not cause Landon to fall or bump into anything.
Monica said she broke up the argument and sent her son inside the residence, according to the affidavit. Later, she said Landon left the residence with a duffel bag and a .22 caliber semiautomatic rifle. She said Landon told the couple he was leaving and going to his father's.
Newton told Landon he was not taking the rifle with him, and Monica said she lost sight of Newton and Landon, according to the affidavit. Monica heard Newton say, "OK. Yeah, do it." She heard Landon say, "I'm not taking your s--- anymore."
Monica said she heard two or three gunshots and ran around the corner of the residence where she saw Newton lying face down on the ground, according to the affidavit. Newton told her to call 911, so she did. She saw her son get picked up by his father.
Agents interviewed Charles Miller, who said he'd received calls and a text message from his son wanting him to come pick him up, according to the affidavit. While driving to his son's residence, he said he received a call from his son. His son told him he'd shot Newton.
Charles said Landon put the gun in his pickup, according to the affidavit. He told Monica he was taking Landon to his residence.
Ridgeway interviewed Landon, who waived his Miranda rights, according to the affidavit. Landon said Newton had gotten onto him that evening. Landon said Newton had slapped him across the left cheek/nose and caused his nose to bleed.
Landon said he went inside and punched a television. He said he sat in his room and thought about what he should do, according to the affidavit. Landon said he called his father and asked him to come pick him up. Landon said he loaded his .22 caliber rifle and grabbed his clothes.
He said went outside and told his mother and stepfather he was leaving for his father's residence, according to the affidavit. Landon said Newton told him he was not leaving and not taking the rifle with him.
Landon said Newton ran at him and he told Newton he would shoot him if he did not stop, according to the affidavit. Landon said Newton did not stop and raised his fist, as if Newton was going to strike him, so Landon said he shot Newton three times.
Landon said he put his gun in his father's pickup and left, according to the affidavit. Landon said during a previous incident, Newton had shoved him to the ground multiple times. Landon said he took the loaded gun with him to be prepared if Newton pushed or shoved him again.
According to a motion for bail filed by Jones in the case, Landon was attempting to leave a situation of potential and likely abuse when he shot Newton, firing a warning shot before shooting Newton.
"Kristen Newton was throughout much of his life a violent and angry man who threatened with deadly weapons and force to kill, maim or injure men, women and children, strangers, even members of his own family," according to the motion. Landon had knowledge of Newton's anger issues, including Newton shooting a dog and intentionally hitting and running over a calf on a county road.
The motion detail's Newton's criminal history, which includes cases of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic abuse.
"In each of these cases, Kristan Newton received lenient treatment for reasons which are not explainable from the court records," according to the motion. "The cases were either dismissed, reduced to a lesser included offense, or Kristan Newton was given a deferred sentence or served time in County Jail."
According to the motion for bond, Landon was acting in self defense when he shot and killed Newton.
"... Landon Miller had every reason to be reasonably apprehensive for his life as well as that of his mother from Kristan Newton," according to the motion. "Kristan Newton got close enough to double his fist and intended to hit or commit corporal violence against Landon who was only 16 years old. Landon after firing warning shots, shot and killed Kristan Newton when he got close enough to do violence to Landon Miller.
"He had no intention of hurting anyone. He simply wanted to get away because he was afraid for his life."
History of violence
The shooting is not the first time a family argument involving Newton turned fatal.
On Nov. 23, 2007, Major County Sheriff's Office responded to Newton's home after he shot and killed his brother, Braden, during an altercation in the driveway of the residence.
After an initial argument, Braden left but returned 10 minutes later angrier, according to the affidavit from Kristan Newton's arrest for the 2007 shooting. Kristan went inside his home again and returned with a Ruger semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol and approached Braden’s pickup to confront him.
As he approached the truck, Kristan fired a shot into the air to try and scare Braden again, the affidavit states. Braden got out of the truck and threatened to beat his brother again, and Kristan said he raised the gun to fire another shot into the air but the gun went off too soon and struck Braden in the head, according to the affidavit.
Kristan said he didn’t mean for it to happen, but he was tired of his brother beating him because it happened so often, the affidavit states.
Kristan Newton was charged with second-degree murder in his brother Braden's death but was not convicted, and no record of the case remains on file with the Major County Court Clerk's office.
Newton was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous/deadly weapon in a 2010 case, which resulted in a three-year suspended sentence.