Accused killer released from jail after violating bond, leaving victim’s family frustrated

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SALINE COUNTY, Mo. -- A local family says they're concerned now that a murder suspect has been allowed to roam free. 

James Scott Miller, 56, was arrested and charged with killing his stepson, 31-year old Joshua Smith, in December 2018.

Family members of the victim said they believe he's a danger to society. Since he's not in jail, they fear other people could be in danger.

“It was the night of December 29th, we got the call that my brother had been shot," said Desiree Thompson, Smith's sister.

The Smith family

It's been nearly 7 months since Smith was shot and killed in Marshall, Missouri. The family says they are still trying to cope with what happened.

"It's been very difficult. We really haven't even had a chance to mourn him because we are really concerned with what the law is doing with Scott," Thompson said.  

Miller was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action in Saline County one day after the deadly shooting.

James Scott Miller

Within days he was released on a $500,000 cash-only bond, only to be arrested again for violating the bond.

This time, he paid $250,000. Pending the trial, Miller, is once again a free man.

"It is very frustrating because the man has obviously committed a crime. He's admitted to it, and he has been given a set of rules. So why can't he be like everyone else who breaks the rules?" Thompson said.

A Saline County judge has denied multiple requests to revoke Miller's bond. The defense argues the case is lawful self-defense.

On Wednesday evening, Miller`s defense attorney, Daniel Ross, issued the following statement to FOX4: 

“My client has fully complied with all conditions of bond. The state produced no evidence at the hearing that my client was in violation of any condition of bond. The States claims were refuted by the Saline county Sheriff, by the Saline county pretrial release coordinator, and my client’s personal physician. The Court’s ruling was proper and based on overwhelming evidence and the law."

Smith's family said they just want answers -- and to know they're protected since Miller is out of jail. Smith's wife has filed a restraining order.

“Why are they continuing to let him do this? It’s just something bad waiting to happen," Thompson said.

A trial date has been set for Jan. 14, 2020.

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