William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 31 Jul 2005 04:33:24 -0400


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Street justice

Police report shows teenage killers' persistence


Three teens "seeking street justice" hunted for Mark Miller for days among
Corvallis' homeless, telling people they were going to beat him up,
according to a recently released Corvallis Police Department report.

When Cruise Cassidy, Tyler Boyce and Mike Martin found Miller on Oct. 19, it
was near the shelter under the Fourth Street Bridge, where homeless people
often socialize and drink by a smoky fire.

The trio beat him to death.

On Oct. 14, the 52-year-old Miller had been in a fistfight, pulled out a
knife and slashed Cassidy on the hand.

According to the police report, after that fight, one homeless man said he
started seeing the teens "everywhere, Safeway, Dari-Mart, under the bridge,
and they kept asking, 'Where's Mark?'"

"They were looking for Miller but didn't find him," said another witness,
who sometimes bought alcohol for the trio. He came across them three times
in five days under the bridge.

Another homeless man said that hours after Cassidy was slashed, one of the
teens came after him with a knife, mistaking him for Miller.

The police report, which became public information due to the trio's recent
conviction and sentencing for manslaughter, shows the teens' persistence in
seeking revenge.

Other details also came to light, including information that Miller could
have been charged for slashing Cassidy. Before the case could be heard by a
grand jury, Boyce, age 15, Cassidy, 19, and Martin, 19, had taken the law
into their own hands.

Several witnesses said that they thought the teens were just meaning to hurt
Miller not kill him. One woman worried that the teens were under the bridge
on Oct. 19, but people by the fire thought she was hysterical.

When Miller left the gathering, though, the three teens ran after him.

Miller suffered severe head injuries as a result of the beating, according
to the report, and was kicked in the head while down on the ground. He died
in part from blunt force trauma, according to an autopsy.

Cassidy estimated the fight lasted five minutes. In the police report, an
officer said, "I asked Cassidy if they beat Miller for the entire five
minutes and he said, 'I guess so.' I also confirmed with Cassidy that Miller
never fought back once he was on the ground."

Miller pleaded for the beating to stop, Cassidy said.

When the three teens started running from the scene, one suspect came back
and asked if Miller was alright or dead. They ran through the homeless
encampment, and witnesses heard one saying he thought Miller had been

"(Cassidy) told me he just wanted to get him back for stabbing him. He told
me he did not intend to have him die," an officer said.

Like many other police reports, statements in this one include a jumble of
conflicting or semi-coherent viewpoints and changing stories.

As Miller's condition fluctuated in the hospital on Oct. 19 and early Oct.
20, Martin and Boyce denied involvement in the beating, according to the
report. Boyce's father, Ed Boyce, also told police his son was at home
during the time period the assault occurred.

Cruise Cassidy, however, essentially confessed that the three assaulted
Miller. Hours later, at 5:05 a.m. Oct. 20, Miller died, and the teenagers
faced more serious accusations.

The report includes statements that Miller previously had bought alcohol for
the teens, and that the teens were drinking before they fought with him on
Oct. 14 and the night they beat him on Oct. 19.

Miller also had been drinking the night he was beaten, and during the
previous three weeks he was struggling more with alcohol issues.

Cassidy told police that Miller tried to apologize twice to him on Oct. 19 -
once in an alley and again under the bridge.

Miller's problems with Boyce, Cassidy and Martin may have stemmed from
before the knife incident.

Sue Dilworth, who owns the property where Miller was staying, told police
that Miller had been having problems with three teenagers for a couple of

Catherine Burch of Corvallis, Miller's daughter, said Miller feared for his
life because of teens bullying him.

"Miller told her about some teens hitting him with a skateboard, and said,
'Those boys from the skate park are going to kill me,'" the report states.

All three suspects accepted plea deals in the killing.

Cassidy, who prosecutor Christian Stringer said did the bulk of the damage
against Miller, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in March and was
sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Martin, now 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and was
sentenced to six years in prison.

In June, Boyce, who turned 16 this month, was the last of the three to be
sentenced, receiving six years in custody after pleading guilty to
second-degree manslaughter.

Copyright  2005 . Lee Enterprises