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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Trial in fatal chase delayed

Tony Holt Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:00 PM

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A prosecutor wants to avoid any snags as he pursues a conviction against a woman charged in the vehicular death of a motorcyclist.

In order to do so, he agreed to continue the trial for Brittany Elizabeth Miles until Nov. 13. He said it would be prudent to try the former exotic dancer after she stands trial in neighboring Pasco County for charges related to a fatal chase on May 10, 2011.

Her trial in Pasco is scheduled to begin on Nov. 5.

Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto said he based his decision on "an abundance of caution" to protect his case and prevent a mistrial.

Miles, 22, is charged in the death of Henry McCain, 66, who was killed at U.S. 19 and County Line Road. Authorities said an intoxicated Miles hit McCain while going about 100 mph in her Dodge Ram.

Moments before the fatal crash, Miles had slipped one of her wrists free from loose-fitting handcuffs, escaped from the backseat of a Pasco deputy's cruiser and climbed into her pickup, which was moments from being towed after her arrest on a charge of driving under the influence, according to reports.

Arresting deputy Ashley Grady ran after Miles and clung to the pickup in an effort to take the key out of the ignition. She eventually lost her grip and fell onto the highway near Florestate Drive in Hudson, authorities said.

Grady had head and leg injuries.

Miles was charged with felony escape with attempted murder because she dragged Grady along the highway at speeds of up to 70 mph and tried to kill her, according to the state attorney's office.

Her first-degree murder case — related to McCain's death — is predicated on her conviction in Pasco, Catto said.

Catto said if Miles is acquitted in Pasco, or if jurors convict her on a reduced charge, there would be some steep legal challenges associated with her first-degree murder case in Hernando.

That's why he would prefer to wait for the outcome of her Pasco trial. Catto also said that if Miles avoids being convicted on the escape charge, he would be open to a plea agreement, which could mean Miles would avoid life in prison.

As it stands, Miles faces two life sentences if convicted of the original charges in Pasco and Hernando.

Moments before Miles' pretrial hearing Thursday morning, and while the defendant sat by herself in the jury box, she asked the bailiff to loosen her handcuffs. Moments later, she rolled her eyes at a cameraman taking photographs and turned her head away.

She smiled and appeared more upbeat when her attorney, Richard W. Rawlins III, walked into the courtroom. He drove about three hours from Daytona Beach to attend the hearing, which lasted about 15 minutes.

Miles will be held at Pasco County Jail as she awaits her first trial.

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