MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis minister is heading to prison for life, but his conviction was bittersweet for the family of the man he killed.
Both families – that of the killer and the man killed — have known each other for more than 50 years.
A jury found former pastor Derrick Griffin guilty of shooting and killing 27-year-old Kristopher Miller at his home on Irving Avenue North in May.
Miller’s brother, Craig, said Miller was a hard-working man who wanted to be a police officer in the North Minneapolis Community where he grew up.
“He was always the big protector for everyone,” Craig Miller said.
He also said he was shocked when he learned that a man he grew up with killed his brother.
“It’s very hard to find out that someone I use to hang out with — play with — was responsible for my brother’s death,” Craig Miller said.
Craig Miller also said he and Griffin grew up on the same block and that their families were close. That relationship made the trial hard to sit through.
Prosecutors painted a picture of a love triangle and a fit of jealously that led to murder. They say Miller spent his last evening alive having drinks with the pastor’s estranged wife.
Craig Miller said his brother was doing what came naturally to him – being a protector.
Miller walked the woman to her car and was shot as he returned to the bar. Prosecutors used cell phone records and surveillance video to show Griffin was in the area of the shooting.
“Personally, I was a little conflicted. I was happy that the jury came back with verdict that they did,” Craig Miller said. “Same time, I also know the defendant… we went through school together.”
Craig Miller said the Griffins are good people, and he does not blame the family for the actions of one member.
For now, the Miller family will concentrate on making sure Miller’s two young daughters are surrounded by love.
Miller will also be missed by students at North High School, where he worked.
“He had a real big interest in the kids at North High,” Craig Miller said. “He talked about those kids all the time.”