Former PA Trooper charged in death of wife, newborn child

- Authorities in Montgomery County have announced the arrest of a former Pennsylvania State Trooper, following an investigation into the death of his wife and their newborn child back in 2014.

Joseph Miller, 36, was arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his wife Joanna, 34, and their newborn child at their home in East Norriton.

Investigators say back on March 7, 2014, around 2:30 p.m., Miller called 911 to report that he had shot his wife in the family room of their home while off duty.

East Norriton Police arrived to find Joanna unresponsive in critical condition, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Joanna was transported to Mercy Suburban Hospital where she went into cardiac arrest, and an emergency C-section was performed in an attempt to save her unborn baby girl.

Joanna was pronounced dead at 3 p.m., and her child was delivered in life-threatening distress, and given emergency care. The baby passed away a short time later.

A county coroner ruled Joanna's cause of death a "perforating close range gunshot wound to the head," and the baby's cause of death was "precipitous delivery due to maternal gunshot wound." Their deaths were ruled a homicide.

Detectives say Miller had brought a handgun into the family room where his wife had been on the floor vacuum sealing children's clothing. According to investigators, Miller told them he was preparing to clean his gun when it discharged.

After two years of forensic and ballistic tests, investigators determined the Joanna was shot at close range, and that Miller's experience as a State Trooper meant he had extensive knowledge of the mandatory procedures of gun safety and handling.

Miller resigned from his position with the Pennsylvania State Police. He was arraigned Friday, and bail was set at $100,000 with conditions that he surrenders his passport and firearms. Miller waived his preliminary hearing. 

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