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Suspect’s Dad Admits Vandalism

The father of a teenager accused of killing another boy over a stereo pleaded guilty Monday to charges of vandalizing a police station with spray-painted graffiti proclaiming a belief in his son’s innocence.

Thomas D. Miller, 51, was sentenced to 133 days in Orange County Jail in connection with the vandalism and unrelated misdemeanor counts of drunk driving and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Three teens inside the man’s van at the time of his drunk driving arrest on Halloween had been drinking alcohol, including one 15-year-old boy who is a witness in the murder trial pending against his son, Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Yellin said.

The prosecutor said he sought the jail term on the misdemeanor charges in part because of the defendant’s involvement with the witness. Miller also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing an illegal police-type baton, which was found in his van during the drunk driving stop, Yellin said.

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The defendant’s deputy public defender could not be reached for comment.

Miller’s teenage son, Thomas “Tommy” Miller, is awaiting trial as an adult on charges he shot and killed 14-year-old Carl Dan Claes last May. Claes, who was shot once at close range, was found dead on a dirt path about three miles from the Tustin house where he lived with his grandfather.

A second Miller son, who is 15, was among several minors recently convicted and sentenced to the California Youth Authority for being accessories after the fact in the slaying.

Police said Thomas Miller, upset over his sons’ legal problems, spray-painted “Bloods killed Karl” and “Free Tommy” at various spots last September, including the Tustin Police Department.

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The word “Bloods” apparently refers to the Los Angeles-based street gang, and “Karl” appears to refer to the victim, authorities said at the time. A Tustin detective had arrested him as he spray-painted the words in red on an apartment building.


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