Kidnapping case bound over to Grand Jury

Published 9:04 pm Monday, March 13, 2017

A Carter County judge bound a criminal case against a man facing kidnapping and assault charges after police say he held an elderly man hostage inside his home over to the Grand Jury on Monday morning.
Eric Matthew Miller, 38, of 1955 Gap Creek Road, Elizabethton, appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Monday for a scheduled preliminary hearing. Officers of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Miller on Jan. 28 and charged him with especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of Schedule II drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a revoked license. Deputies arrested Miller again on Feb. 22 and charged him with and two counts of violation of an order of protection.
In court Monday morning, Miller’s attorney Assistant Public Defender Greg Norris informed the court Miller waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. placed Miller under oath and asked him if he understood his rights and if he voluntarily waived his right to the preliminary hearing. Miller responded “Yes” to both questions.
Bowers then bound the case over to the Grand Jury and scheduled Miller to appear in Carter County Criminal Court on May 30.
The charges from Jan. 28 stem from an incident at a home on Gap Creek Road where officers say Miller assaulted 84-year-old Olen Pate. According to police, Miller lived with Pate and worked as a helper on Pate’s farm.
According to court documents, Pate 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 Miller’s arrest in January, Bowers granted Pate an Order of Protection against Miller. The two pending counts of violation of an Order of Protection stem from incidents where police say Miller had contact with Pate in violation of the Order.
In one incident, police say Miller called Pate from the Carter County Detention Center and told him to drop the charges. In the other incident, police say on Feb. 22, just days after posting bond on the kidnapping and assault charges, Miller returned to Pate’s home and was found by officers in a crawl space under the house.
Miller’s girlfriend, 38-year-old Lana Curbey, of 620 Swimming Pool Road, Hampton, also faces charges in connection with the alleged kidnapping incident. According to court documents, Curbey was with Miller at the time of his arrest and told investigators she had also been at Pate’s home when the assault happened. According to the documents, Curbey told investigators she could have helped Pate or called 911, but she did not. Instead, police said, Curbey helped Miller escape by driving him away from Pate’s home in her vehicle.
Officers charged Curbey with being an accessory after the fact to especially aggravated kidnapping.
Curbey is scheduled to appear in Carter County General Sessions Court on Tuesday, March.14.
Miller also had two pending violation of probation charges against him, and he entered a guilty plea to those counts while he was in General Sessions Court Monday. Bowers sentenced him to serve 109 days in jail on each count of violation of probation, for a total effective sentence of 218 days.
Miller remains held at the Carter County Detention Center without bond. Bowers revoked his bond on the kidnapping and assault charges as a result of the new charges for violation of an Order of Protection and ordered that he be held without bond.

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