DA won't seek death penalty in Goliad murder, arson case

  • PRE-TRIAL PROCEEDINGS

  • WHAT: Concerning the trial of Delbert Andrew MillsWHEN: 9 a.m. June 6WHERE: Goliad County CourthouseTRIAL DATE: To be determined

GOLIAD - The death penalty is not being considered in the case against a Victoria man charged with killing his wife and setting their house on fire eight years ago.

Among the required elements needed to pursue the death penalty is proof of the person being a future danger to society, Goliad District Attorney Michael Sheppard said. Because the suspect, Delbert Andrew Mills, 44, has had no felony charges during the past eight years, the state lacks the evidence to pursue the death penalty, he said.

Mills was indicted in February by a Goliad County grand jury on capital murder and arson charges in the 2003 death of his wife.

Patricia Leigh Mills died in her home at 127 S. San Patricio St. in Goliad after it caught fire June 25, 2003.

The couple's 6-year-old son escaped, and Patricia Mills' sister, Sharon Burdette, has cared for him ever since. The boy was later legally adopted by the Burdette family.

Sharon Burdette continued to seek justice for eight years.

The cold case of Mills' death was re-opened in 2010 by Goliad Sheriff Kirby Brumby after he was approached by Burdette.

Mills was arrested Nov. 30 and has been charged with capital murder in connection with her death. He remained in the Goliad County Jail in lieu of a $150,000 bond for each indictment. Mills is represented by Victoria attorney Keith Weiser.

A pre-trial hearing is set for June 6 at the Goliad County Courthouse. However, the potential of seeking attempted murder charges for the attempted murder of Mills' son has not totally been ruled out, Sheppard said.

"Investigation into further charges remains open," Sheppard said. "We have considered going back to a grand jury to pursue more charges. We just need to analyze what we have and see if we can make that case."

Sheppard said the trial could begin in late summer or early fall.