William Miner, Jr.
29 Years Old

July 8, 1953 to May 28, 1983

Bill was born on a sunny, warm morning, July 8, 1953 at Coshocton, Ohio, in the Coshocton Memorial Hospital. He was born to William D. and Dorothy Miner. He was a child of energy, always loving, concerned and a little wild in those teenage years. Bill did not like school and quit at 16. He got a job right away working in a restaurant. He was going with a girl, Rowena, they went together for 3 years and were married on November 26, 1972. Four years later a son was born, Eric William. In 1978 a daughter Amy was added to the family. By this time Bill had worked in a foundry, auto shop, gun shop, but his interest was now turning in a different direction. He was becoming interested in Law Enforcement. He had to have a high school diploma so he started taking night classes and obtained his GED. He started working with the South Whitley, Indiana Police Department in 1978, and after one year he was sent to the Police Academy in Plainfield, Indiana. He graduated in June of 1979. Sometime later he was to take a job with the Avilla, Indiana P.D. as a reserve officer. When the Marshall left, the town board made Bill Town Marshall.

As for hobbies Bill was pretty busy with his work. His wife became a helper to him. Bill did love motorcycles, and one still sits in our garage. His life revolved around his family. When not working, where you saw Bill you would usually see his wife and children with him. He was also close to his parents and siblings. He was usually the first one through the door on holidays. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Bill was second of the six children. Bill liked potato salad, pineapple upside down cake, tacos, banana cream pie and peanut butter fudge. Bill did like to fish when he could take the time. One time he took a week's vacation with his family and camped out in a tent, rain and all. Bill loved the town he swore to protect, and did things that his job did not require, such as fixing a screen door for an elderly lady. For Christmas of 1982, Bill and his reserve officers built doll houses for their daughters. That is one of Amy's keepsakes. His profession was one of shiny shoes, shiny buttons, low pay, second jobs to make ends meet the bills, a job in which you serve gentle people you usually don't have contact with and sometimes a deadly job.

Bill was close to his brothers George, Mark and Scott, and his sisters Sherri and Susan. Loved his wife, and adored his children. His oldest brother George graduated from the same police academy on December 23, 1998.


Avilla Town Marshall, William D. Miner, Jr., 29, was gunned down around 4 am, May 28, 1983, after answering a call at 3:50 am, a car was being vandalized.

When Miner arrived at the scene, William Spranger, 18, and Allen Snyder, 28, began a fight with Bill Miner. Losing his gun in a roll across the road, Miner subdued Snyder. Spranger then picked up Bill's gun and shot him in the back. Bill then either fell or was pushed in a ditch containing 6 inches of water.

In December, 1983, Spranger was sentenced to die by Judge Puckett following the jury's recommendation. Allen Snyder was given an 8 year prison term of which he served 5 years. After all appeals were exhausted, in May, 1995, a Judge VanMiddlesworth reversed the death sentence and ordered a new sentencing hearing.

On November 7, 1997, VanMiddlesworth changed the sentence to 60 years which automatically became 30 years. Having spent 14 and 1/2 years, he will now be eligible for parole in 15 and 1/2 years, in the year 2013.

The Judge weighed in the balance. The aggravating circumstances, the victim was an on duty officer, murder was committed as part of a crime spree, was known to the officer, fled the scene leaving Miner to die unattended.

Mitigating circumstances, the crime committed was unlikely to reoccur, Spranger was young, 18 years old, slow in learning (he obtained his GED in prison), was intoxicated, had no history of crime, and was under the influence of Snyder, 28.

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William Miner