AUSTIN (KXAN) — Opening statements began Tuesday in a federal case against a man accused of kidnapping two sisters from their Round Rock home on New Year’s Eve, 2017.
Terry Allen Miles, 45, faces federal charges after police say he took two girls, ages 7 and 14 at the time, to Colorado. Both girls were found unharmed and Miles was indicted on kidnapping charges by a federal grand jury in February 2018.
Opening statements by attorneys representing the federal government and Terry Miles started at 9 a.m. Prosecutors argued that Miles was having regular sexual activity with the then 14-year-old girl and argued that he killed the girl’s mother before taking her and her sister to Colorado.
On Dec. 29, 2017, they told jurors in their opening statement that Miles and the girls’ mother, Tonya Bates, got into an argument and Miles blugeoned Bates to death. In a panic, prosecutors say Miles hastily packed up, then fled Round Rock in the middle of the night with the girls in their mother’s vehicle.
The federal government argues the kidnapping came as a result of Miles killing the girls’ mother. They said the older daughter knew her mother was dead, but that the younger girl did not.
The defense argued it was Bates’ “high-risk lifestyle” that exposed her and her daughters to serious danger. The defense alleges that Bates was selling her body — putting out advertisements for sex — and said she had “many, many sexual encounters with strangers.”
Attorneys for Miles said that from time to time, Bates told Miles and the girls to leave the home so she could have sex there. That’s what they say happened on Dec. 29, 2017, arguing that when they returned home, they found Bates dead and in an effort to escape present danger, they fled to Colorado.
The defense said Miles’ decision to leave may have been hasty, rash, and paranoid, but said they did it “in a panic.” Admitting it was terrible judgment to do so, Miles’ attorneys maintained that at the time, they thought it was the right thing to do — Miles believed he was protecting the girls by taking them away from their home.
After opening statements concluded Tuesday morning, the federal government began calling witnesses, including an FBI special agent and a detective with the Round Rock Police Department who responded to Bates’ home on Dec. 31, 2017 after her body was discovered under a rug inside the home.
Bates was found dead in the family home shortly after the girls went missing. Miles is considered a person of interest in her homicide though no charges have been filed against him.
As of Monday, the teen girl is in a Texas group home while her younger sister is with a placement family who is in the process of adopting her, according to Lisa Block with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The next permanency review hearing is scheduled for April 5.
Miles faces between 20 years and life in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.