Archived Story

‘Niles 5’ teen gets wrist slap for violating probation

Published 11:40am Thursday, April 11, 2013

Facing up to five years in prison for violating terms of his probation, a Niles teenager convicted in the 2011 “Niles 5 sextortion” case received a slap on the wrist in Berrien County Court.

Judge Scott Schofield ordered Martell Miller, 19, to perform 100 hours of community service and obtain a part time job in addition to serving the remaining two years of his original probation during a probation violation hearing Thursday in a Niles courtroom.

Miller must complete 100 hours of community service before Jan. 1, 2014 and must be working 15 to 30 hours a week by May 15. Schofield said if he doesn’t comply with these conditions, the consequences would be severe.

“This could be and probably is your last chance to avoid prison,” Schofield said. “You must treat this probation with a much higher degree of seriousness than you have been.”

Miller pleaded guilty Thursday to violating three conditions of his probation. The first being he was not home for a scheduled visit from his probation officer on Feb. 14. He also admitted to missing three required mental health assessments and maintaining an active Facebook account, even though he was ordered not to have a Facebook account.

Prosecutor Amy Byrd recommended Miller receive a lengthy jail sentence.

“He was given a wonderful opportunity… clearly he is not taking this seriously,” she said.

Miller apologized for messing up, but said he is taking probation seriously.

“It is my number 1 priority,” said Miller, who has been taking classes at a community college in Kalamazoo.

Miller was one of five Niles teenagers involved in a sex video extortion scandal in March 2011, in which a 17-year-old girl was unknowingly videotaped having sex with one of Miller’s co-defendants. The recording was then used to blackmail the girl into sexual acts with some of the defendants.

Miller was the only one convicted in the case to not receive a prison sentence. He benefitted from a favorable plea bargain that dismissed the most serious charge of criminal sexual conduct in return for Miller pleading guilty to attempted assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

He was sentenced to a year in jail and three years probation. He was released from jail in June 2012.

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