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Lower restitution in killing rejected

Miller sought to avoid cost of burned car

A man who was convicted of killing a local woman was back in court recently to appeal his victim restitution costs and pre-sentence jail credit.

Josiah Miller, 31, stabbed Crescent City resident Michelle Dickson, 23, after the two met at a picnic area off Enderts Beach Road on July 15, 2008. The following day Dickson’s car was found burning near South Beach, not far from the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and Sand Mine Road, authorities said.

Miller, who was originally charged with murder, accepted a deal in 2010 in which he pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter.

He was sentenced that December, at which time he was ordered to pay $18,000 in restitution costs to Dickson’s family. Last July, Miller tried disputing $13,600 of the costs, which are attributed to the car that was burned. He argued that setting the car ablaze was not connected to the crime he committed, court documents state. 

That appeal was denied.

The California Court of Appeals did, however, find merit to Miller filing for jail credit he served in Oregon before being extradited to California. In Del Norte Superior Court on Friday, Miller was awarded an additional 186 days of credit for time he spent in an Oregon jail and for good behavior.

At the time of his sentencing, he was sentenced to 11 years with 828 days of credit.

“On behalf of Dickson’s family, I wanted to say from Mr. Miller’s no contest plea to this latest refusal to accept responsibility, his offenses reach beyond criminality to total remorselessness and sheer cowardice,” said District Attorney Jon Alexander, noting that he was not involved in the no-contest plea or its negotiation.

Dickson disappeared just days before her 24th birthday. She was born and raised in Del Norte County. She attended Del Norte High School for one year and earned her diploma at Paragon School in Crescent City. She was in the midst of completing her associate’s degree at College of the Redwoods.

Dickson worked two jobs, waitressing at both the now-closed Bistro Gardens in Crescent City and Ship Ashore Restaurant in Smith River. The day authorities found her burning car, Dickson was supposed to be at work in Smith River.

Hikers discovered her body underneath the Thomas Creek Bridge on Highway 101 north of Brookings, Ore., about a week later, and Miller was arrested at his Arcata residence. He was extradited to Oregon, then back to California after it was determined Del Norte was the proper jurisdiction for his prosecution.

Reach Anthony Skeens at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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