Columbia Man Pleads Guilty in Connection with 2008 Torture, Robbery, and Murder in Aiken
Columbia, South Carolina ---- Antonio Miller, age 39, of Columbia, South Carolina, plead guilty to three counts today in connection with the torture, robbery, and murder of Fred Tucker in Aiken: (1) Using a firearm to commit murder in furtherance of a crime of violence and drug trafficking; (2) Kidnapping resulting in death; and (3) Conspiring to distribute crack cocaine resulting in death. United States District Judge Mary Lewis accepted the plea and will sentence Miller in the coming months.
Hearings revealed that on September 15, 2008, Miller and three confederates targeted Fred Tucker to rob him of drugs and drug proceeds to further their ongoing efforts to distribute crack cocaine. Miller and the others drove in a rental car to Tucker’s house in Aiken. Carrying multiple firearms, these four men entered Tucker’s home, subdued and restrained Tucker, binding his hands and feet with duct tape, before repeatedly burning him with a scalding flathead screwdriver. After torturing Tucker in order to learn the location of hidden drugs and drug proceeds, Tucker was fatally shot in the chest. Through the work of local law enforcement, searches of the rental car and Miller’s own residence revealed crack cocaine taken from Tucker and firearms that ballistically matched those used to murder Tucker.
After his co-defendants pleaded guilty, a state-court jury convicted Miller of kidnapping, murder, and related charges before SC Circuit Judge Doyet A. (Jack) Early, III. On appeal in 2016, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed the conviction. As part of a longstanding history of cooperation with Second Circuit Solicitor Strom Thurmond Jr., federal authorities indicted Miller in 2017. After U.S. District Judge Lewis denied Miller’s attempts to suppress evidence of the murder, Miller agreed to plead guilty and be sentenced to thirty years in federal prison.
The case was investigated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, FBI, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the North Augusta Department of Public Safety and the United States Marshal’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J.D. Rowell and Jay Richardson are prosecuting the case.