Roger Boyd of Portland walks through Jay County Courthouse after being sentenced Monday to 53 years in prison for the September 2020 murder of James P. Miller of Montpelier. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)
Roger Boyd of Portland walks through Jay County Courthouse after being sentenced Monday to 53 years in prison for the September 2020 murder of James P. Miller of Montpelier. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)
A Portland man convicted of murder has been sentenced to more than five decades in prison.

Jay Circuit Court Judge Brian Hutchison on Monday sentenced Roger L. Boyd Jr., 36, to 53 years in Indiana Department of Correction for the September 2020 killing of James P. Miller of Montpelier.

A jury found Boyd guilty at his trial last month.

During Boyd’s sentencing hearing Monday, Hutchison said he found the mitigating circumstances to slightly outweigh the aggravating circumstances, suggesting two years less than the advisory sentence of 55 years for murder.

Boyd was arrested Sept. 5, 2020, after a shooting that resulted in Miller’s death at 1215 S. Bridge St., Portland. Video evidence of crime shows Boyd and Miller walking into the garage, with several gunshots heard shortly afterward.

Eleven of Miller’s friends or family members gathered together in the courtroom Monday, wearing black T-shirts with an orange symbol resembling the Harley Davidson logo reading “Justice for Jimmy.”

Holly Miller, who was married to James Miller for 20 years and shared three children with the victim, took to the stand to push for the maximum sentence of 65 years. She listed off various ways James Miller would interact with his family and friends, adding that because of Roger’s actions, he wouldn’t do any of those activities ever again.

“I’m not trying to make Jimmy out to be some kind of saint,” said Holly Miller. “But at the end of the day, Jimmy was a human being …”

Five people stood in the crowd in support of Boyd, although none spoke at the hearing.

Chief deputy prosecutor Zech Landers argued for the maximum sentence, pointing out Boyd’s oath as a former police officer — he served with Dunkirk Police Department and Jay County Sheriff’s Office, having been fired from the latter — as well as his testimony that he hid or disposed of evidence, specifically erasing his phone’s memory.

Defense attorney Zaki Ali referenced mitigating factors, such as Boyd’s lack of a criminal history. He also argued that Boyd acted in self defense, having felt he had a “threat against his life,” and pushed for the minimum sentence of 45 years.

“In cases like this, there are no winners, specifically for my clients — my client, my client’s family, and also the victim and the victim’s family,” Ali said after the hearing. “So there are no winners. And it’s just a sad feeling all the way around.”

With good time credit factored in, Boyd will likely spend just under 40 years in prison. explained prosecutor Wes Schemenaur,

“That’s maybe not quite a life sentence, but a good chunk of the rest of his adult life, anyway, is going to be spent behind bars,” Schemenaur said. “And so I think the family’s OK with that, and they got the justice that they needed for Jimmy.”

As Boyd exited the elevator on the first floor of the courtroom in handcuffs, a woman shouted at him, “karma.”

“He’ll be an old man before he gets out,” Holly Miller remarked after the hearing.

Boyd was also charged with a Level 3 felony for criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon. That charge was dismissed June 10, the last day of his trial.