Man arrested in kidnapping case charged with violating court order

Published 5:27 pm Thursday, February 23, 2017

Eric Miller

Eric Miller

A Carter County man charged with holding an elderly man hostage earlier this year is once again under arrest after police say he violated a judge’s order to stay away from the victim just days after bonding out of jail.
Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Eric Matthew Miller, 38, 1955 Gap Creek Road, Elizabethton, and charged him with two counts of violation of an order of protection.
The new charges against Miller stem from an Order of Protection that General Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Jr. granted to Olen Pate which prohibits Miller from having any contact — either in person or by telephone, text message or any other means of communication — with Pate. Bowers granted the Order of Protection on February 8 in response to criminal charges alleging Miller assaulted Pate and held him captive inside his home in January.
On Jan. 28, deputies of the CCSO responded to the home at 1955 Gap Creek Road after someone called 911 and reported a man had been assaulted.
“Upon my arrival, I made contact with the complainant, Mr. Olen Clay Pate, who was visibly shaken and had blood on his shirt and hands,” CCSO Investigator Nick Andes said in the warrant for Miller’s arrest. “Mr. Pate advised me that he had been beaten and held against his will by his live-in farm helper, Mr. Eric Matthew Miller.”
Pate, who is 84 years old, told officers Miller became violent, hit him, threw him to the ground, choked him from behind and beat him with a wooden cane until it broke.
“Mr. Pate also stated that he attempted to escape Mr. Miller several times but that Mr. Miller would knock him back to the ground each time,” Andes said. “Mr. Pate also advised that once Mr. Miller let him go, he went to the phone to call 911, but the lines were disconnected. Mr. Pate recalled that while Mr. Miller was beating him, he stated that he would kill Mr. Pate, burn his house down and that Mr. Pate would never call 911 on anyone else.”
Following an investigation, deputies arrested Miller and charged him with aggravated assault and especially aggravated kidnapping in connection with the incident.
Miller appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Jan. 30 and was arraigned on those charges. At a second court appearance on Feb. 17, Bowers reduced Miller’s bond from $53,000 to $5,000. Miller was released later that day after posting his bond.
On Wednesday, deputies responded to the home at 1955 Gap Creek Road after members of Pate’s family called 911 to report Miller was at the residence in violation of the court’s Order of Protection.
When Andes arrived on the scene, he spoke with Pate, who told the officer he had been asleep and had no knowledge Miller was inside the home. Pate gave Andes permission to search the home for Miller.
“Upon searching the residence, I found a small crawl space under the house in the basement. I gave Mr. Miller my K9 warnings that if he did not surrender and make his presence known I would send K9 Spike into the crawl space to apprehend him,” Andes said. “Upon giving the warning, Mr. Miller spoke up and surrendered.”
Andes placed Miller under arrest and charged him with violation of an Order of Protection.
“Upon further investigation, Investigator Travis Ludlow found a phone call from the Carter County Detention Center from Mr. Eric Miller to Mr. Olen Pate made on Feb. 11, 2017, after Miller was served and the full order was granted,” Andes said. “In this phone call, Mr. Miller acknowledged the Order of Protection and was verbally abusive to Mr. Pate. Mr. Miller further stated to Pate that he needed to drop the charges against him and that Mr. Miller’s entire family would testify against Mr. Pate’s character.”
Andes charged Miller with a second count of violation of an Order of Protection as a result of the phone call Miller made to Pate.
Miller is scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on Friday morning on the new charges against him.

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