Man sentenced to 28 years for role in 2020 shooting of teenager in Savage

A district court sentenced a man Tuesday to 28 years in prison for his role in the 2020 killing of a 16-year-old in a Target parking lot in Savage.

Braylen Miller, 18, pled guilty to second-degree murder, aiding and abetting for the killing of Samuel Keezer, who died of a gunshot wound to the head after meeting Miller to buy marijuana in late  February 2020. Miller was 16 at the time. 

According to the charging documents, Braylen Miller told investigators that the night of the shooting, he and his father, Taran Cortez Miller, met Keezer in the parking lot to sell him marijuana. There, Keizer sat in the front seat during the deal, with his father in the driver's seat.

Braylen Miller told police his father repeatedly commanded Keezer to close the door, but Keezer ignored him. Then, while Keezer was inspecting the drugs, the older Miller shot him in the head and pushed him out of the car. The father then got in the passenger seat and asked his son to drive away, police said.

Taran Miller confessed to killing Keezer, telling investigators he thought he was going to steal the drugs without paying. Taran Miller died in custody in December 2020. 

Court documents indicate that prosecutors dropped two first-degree murder changes (first-degree murder with intent and first-degree murder while committing a felony) against Braylen Miller in exchange for his guilty plea on second-degree murder. The plea deal called for a sentence between 21 and 28 years. 

Miller's attorney, a public defender, argued for a more lenient sentence, indicating that Miller had been abused and threatened by his father, who had a history of violence and also abused Braylen's mother. 

In November of 2020, Braylen Miller's mother, Tanya Marie Miller, pled guilty to two felony charges of aiding an offender. A Scott County District Court Judge sentenced her to three years. From prison, she submitted a video in support of her son, asking the judge for leniency. 

Prosecutors argued for the higher sentence, pointing to the fact that Miller had arranged for the drug sale over Snapchat and retrieved the gun and bullets for his father before they met Keezer.  In his ruling, Judge Christian S. Wilton sided with the prosecutors.