Perry Co., MO coroner convicted of theft resigns from office - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff


Perry Co., MO coroner convicted of theft resigns from office

Herb Miller (Source: Perry County Sheriff's Office) Herb Miller (Source: Perry County Sheriff's Office)

The southeast Missouri coroner convicted of theft and financial exploitation has resigned from his office.

Perry County Coroner Herb Miller resigned after the Missouri Attorney General's Office demanded his resignation Tuesday.

A jury convicted Perry County Coroner Herb Miller in October of theft and financial exploitation.

He was sentenced to two, seven-year suspended sentences on Dec. 11.

Both sentences will be served concurrently, but Herbert Miller was granted a suspended execution of sentence. He also received five years of supervised probation. 

Nanci Gonder, press secretary for the Missouri Attorney General's Office, said Tuesday morning, "our office has demanded the immediate resignation of Herb Miller. If he does not resign, then, at the request of the county commission, we will file a quo warranto seeking to remove him from office."

Perry County Presiding Commissioner Carl "Topper" Leuckel says the county commission signed a letter on Monday and sent it to the attorney general's office to begin the process of removing Miller from office.

Miller resigned around noon Tuesday via a written statement. His resignation is effective immediately.

Perry County Sheriff Gary Schaff was notified immediately of the office vacancy. In accordance with state law, he will serve as acting county coroner until Governor Jay Nixon appoints someone to serve the remainder of Miller's term, which is set to end Dec. 31, 2016.

The commission scheduled an emergency meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

The Perry County Commission contacted Nixon's office and will work with state officials to find a replacement.

The county already had four applicants for the job by Tuesday afternoon.

“The governor’s office has requested all we do is facilitate in the application process," Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz said. "There is a public notice and I’ve already reserved space in the local newspaper. There is no timeline, the governor recommends to leave the application process open-ended.”

The commission said they would like to "reassure the citizens of Perry County the roles and responsibilities performed by the coroner will see no lapses, and they will continue to make finding a replacement to serve the remainder of the office term a priority."

When asked for a comment on Tuesday morning, Miller said, "No, I have no comment and will not comment."

According to the probable cause statement, Miller is accused of writing checks totaling $80,600 as a power of attorney to himself on behalf of a 94-year-old woman with dementia and other cognitive disabilities.

The woman appointed Miller as her power of attorney in 2004.

The woman was admitted to a nursing home in Perryville in 2008. Her primary care physician says she has not been competent for many years.

After the woman was admitted, Miller began writing checks on the woman's account payable to "cash" and to the funeral home he and his wife own, according to the probable cause statement.

Miller is accused of writing the checks from August 2011 to June 2013.

The elderly woman was denied her Medicaid benefits and her bill at the nursing home is not being paid. 

According to court documents, Miller admitted to writing the check and claimed they were gifts from the woman.

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