Scott County Jail inmate charged with murder dies in custody

An inmate being held on murder charges died in the Scott County Jail early Tuesday morning.

Scott County officials say Taran Miller was found unresponsive in his cell at 3:46 a.m. Tuesday. Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

Miller was in a cell by himself due to COVID-19 protocols, but officials did not say if he had tested positive for the virus. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death.

He was booked into the Scott County Jail March 3 after what police described as a marijuana deal gone wrong in Savage, Minnesota that led to the death of a 16-year-old.

The victim, identified as 16-year-old Samuel Alvin Keezer of Burnsville, was found lying in the parking lot of the Target in Savage.

According to the criminal complaint, when officers arrived, Keezer was seriously wounded but conscious. Police say he was able to tell officers his name and that "his head hurt." He was rushed to the hospital where he died the following day. An autopsy found he had died from a single gunshot to the head.

After speaking with witnesses, officers learned two vehicles had driven to the store that night and the victim had gotten out of one vehicle and into the other.

Shortly after, footage showed the boy being shoved out of the vehicle onto the parking lot ground. Witnesses reported hearing a pop and seeing someone laying on the ground.

Police say they were able to identify the first vehicle and track down some of the people inside. His friends said Keezer had contacted another teen via Snapchat to meet up to buy marijuana.

According to police, the investigation found that 44-year-old Taran Miller and the 16-year-old suspect were the ones who arrived in the second vehicle.

Speaking with police, the 16-year-old suspect told officers he had told Miller about the deal with Keezer and the pair had gone to St. Paul to buy marijuana to sell. Police say the teen suspect told officers Keezer gave them different meet-up locations and Miller was starting to change his mind and wanted to sell the drugs to someone else.

However, they eventually agreed on meeting at the Target parking lot. Before leaving, the 16-year-old suspect says Miller asked him to grab the gun before leaving to meet Keezer.

At Target, police say the 16-year-old suspect said Keezer got in the front seat of their vehicle and kept the vehicle's door ajar, despite commands from Miller to close it. While Keezer was inspecting the marijuana, the charges state Miller pulled the gun and shot Keezer in the head, before pushing him out of the vehicle.

The teen suspect said Miller then got into the front seat and told him to drive away.

Speaking with police, investigators say Miller admitted to selling drugs with the 16-year-old suspect in the past and bringing a gun to Friday's meet-up for "protection." According to the charges, Miller thought Keezer was going to try and steal the drugs and admitted to shooting the boy.