LANSING, KS (KCTV) -- After spending eight years in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Derrick Miller is a free man. Now he’s hoping to finally have his name cleared once and for all.
“I feel pretty good, just had some pancakes and eggs, I feel alright,” Derrick Miller, who was just released from United States Disciplinary Barracks, said.
Miller enjoyed his first meal outside the walls of a military prison at Fort Leavenworth surrounded by his mother and supporters.
He was released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks Monday morning after serving eight years on what was originally a life sentence.
“Try to imagine everything being ripped from you in a split second and the people ripping it from you was the country that you swore to defend. It’s a shocking and unreal feeling to be going through that,” Miller said.
In July 2011, Miller was convicted of premeditated murder for the death of an Afghanistan civilian during his third deployment with the U.S. Army National Guard.
“I’ll never forget aspects of that day for the rest of my life,” Miller said.
He said it was self-defense.
“The panel and the jury couldn’t possibly understand the emotion that I was going through, they couldn’t possibly understand the sense of urgency when you know something bad is about to happen,” Miller said.
His mother, Renee Myers, recalls the day her only son was taken.
“He’s sitting there with handcuffs on and I told him, I said, ‘as long as there is breathe in our body, we won’t stop fighting for you’,” Myers said.
With the help of the United American Patriots, a group that helps soldiers fight wrongful accusations and convicted, Miller’s prison term was reduced. He was granted parole earlier this year.
This comes as the president is said to be considering pardons for several military members accused or convicted of war crimes. Miller filed a petition to ask the president to consider his case.
“Going from life, to 20 years, to parole, from parole to a potential pardon a year ago, I would not have believed this would have happened. I would have had hope and faith, but the reality is when you’re sentenced to life things are pretty dark,” Miller said.
So what’s next? Miller is headed home to Maryland where he will have a fresh start and reunite with his now 10-year-old and 12-year-old daughters, something his mom has been waiting for.
“I get to see my son reunited with his children that has been one for the images that has kept me going when I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to move forward another day,” Myers said.
Miller said he is taking steps to rebuild his life, that’s in addition to helping some of the men he met in prison get their chance at freedom. Miller also already has a few job offers.