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Defendant Sentenced to 180 Years in Duffy Case

April 16, 1987 GMT

BOULDER, Mont. (AP) _ A teen-ager has been sentenced to 180 years in prison in the deaths of the parents of ″Dallas″ star Patrick Duffy.

Kenneth Miller, of Helena, was sentenced Wednesday by District Judge Frank Davis to 75 years for the murder of Terrence Duffy, 75 years for the murder of Marie Duffy, 20 years for robbery and 10 years for assault.

The judge ruled the sentences should run consecutively and declared the 19- year-old janitor a dangerous offender, which means Miller would have to serve half his sentence, minus time off for good behavior, before being eligible for parole.

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Miller pursed his lips but otherwise showed no emotion when the sentence was pronounced, though Miller’s parents wept after hearing the ruling.

Jefferson County Attorney John Connor Jr. had sought life sentences on the two murder charges, plus 50 years on the robbery and assault charges, to be served consecutively, while Miller’s attorney, Edmund Sheehy, had suggested a combined sentence totalling 50 years.

Davis said during a sentencing hearing Wednesday morning that Patrick Duffy’s sister, Seattle Police Lt. Joanne Hunt, said she preferred Miller receive the death penalty.

A spokeswoman for Duffy said the actor was filming in Texas and would have no comment on the sentencing.

Miller took the stand during the hearing and said, ″I’d like to tell everybody how really sorry I am about what happened that night, and I’m really sorry about what Patrick Duffy and Joanne Hunt have had to go through.

″If there was anything I could have done to stop what happened, I would have, but it appeared there was nothing I could have done,″ he said.

Miller was convicted March 19 of deliberate homicide for his role in the deaths during a robbery of the couple’s bar, The Lounge, in Boulder last Nov. 18.

Under Montana law, a person can be convicted of deliberate homicide if they are involved in a robbery in which someone is killed.

Co-defendant Sean A. Wentz, 19, of Helena, faces trial on the same charges May 11.

During his nine-day trial, Miller blamed Wentz for shooting the Duffys. Wentz testified that it was Miller’s decision to rob The Lounge and that Miller took his shotgun and shot Terrence Duffy.

″Miller just blasted him, cold blood. He just blasted him,″ Wentz said, adding that Miller then handed back the gun as Marie Duffy walked into the bar. He said Miller reached over and pulled the trigger, killing Mrs. Duffy, too.

Miller denied shooting either person.

He testifed he didn’t see Terrence Duffy get shot, but saw Mrs. Duffy walk into the bar.

″She told Sean, ‘You’re going to have to kill me, too.’ He just shot her,″ Miller said. ″She just about fell on me.″