Prison For Hitting, Killing Child in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE — A man was sentenced Thursday afternoon for hitting and killing a little boy in Wilkes-Barre and then taking off. It’s two to five years in prison for Thomas Letteer.

It was just days before Christmas in 2012 when Miller was hit along West North Street in the city.

Letteer then left the scene prompting an extensive search throughout the Wyoming Valley.

His car was found a month later.

Letteer pleaded guilty to the incident.

Letteer’s bail was revoked immediately after the sentencing.

“You don’t often see a case with such a truly innocent victim as Kevin Miller, a five year old with a beautiful big smile to young to have even seen, to even so much as have a mean spirited thought,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.

In court, Letteer said, “I feel terrible. I hope I can counsel people in similar situations after jail. I’m a good guy.”

Letteer’s family released a letter that reads in part, “Our son is not the monster as he was made out to be. There are no winners to this terrible tragedy. God bless the Miller family.”

Members of Kevin Miller’s family, wore yellow clothing and yellow roses in his honor.

Kevin’s brother, Steve, spoke in court saying, “I wish the man who took Kevin would suffer a lot. Kevin was my best friend.”

After the sentencing, Kevin’s mother spoke about her fight for harsher penalties for hit and run drivers.

“I do this first and foremost for my precious Kevin, but I also do this so that any mother and any family will never have to live in the hell that I and my family will live in for the rest of our lives,” said Caroline Miller.

35 comments

  • martha

    What a heartbreaking situation. Of course, the Millers are grief stricken and beyond angry, which is understandable , since Leteer’s behaviors to date have conveyed a lack of sincere sorrow or remorse. Unfortunately, Mrs, Miller’s remarks come across as condescending. and disparaging to those who struggle with behavioral issues as children, as well as people who aren’t in “high achieving ” careers. Blaming Leteer’s mother is also entirely inappropriate. The lynch mob mentality coming through on here is scary. We are supposed to be a civilzed society, people.

  • Sam

    This man hit and killed a child and then fled the scene. He then proceeded to hide out from authorities for a MONTH. All the while seeing news stories, knowing full well the extent of what he had done; lying to his family and living with the guilt of taking a child’s life and doing nothing. His friends and family are quick to respond that he’s a good guy and just panicked. Well, good guys don’t flee the scene of an accident. People who were doing something they shouldn’t have been doing (DUI) do though. Good guys don’t hide from police. Criminals do though. This man’s mother had over 18 years to mold him into a good guy, and she failed. This was not just an accident by a good guy. The penalty should have been much more severe to fit the severity of the crime. Hopefully he comes out of this a better man.

  • Mad In Hazleton

    Their should be a minimum of 10 Years in prison if you drink and drive and kill someone….but I would also like to know, this is very tragic a 5 year old boy lost his life, why wasn’t one of the parents holding his hand crossing the street??

  • Sam

    That is very heartless to say….it was an accident and what about all the men and women out there who hurt or kill children every day do you say the same thing? If it was you I am sure you would not have panicked and you would have stopped really?? I highly doubt it because everyone panics and don’t think right. A body bag really Michael I hope those words that you typed don’t bit you in the behind…that is terrible thing to say. Let these people in both families try to begin there healing process with out such harsh words. God Bless both families.

  • Kevin

    If this man after a month came out and confessed I would slightly believe that this is nothing more than an accident. (Why slightly – because this was all over the news and I don’t think a “good person” would be able to go on with life for a month knowing they did this). But even after he was caught he did not admit to the crime …yeah sounds like a great person to me.

  • Lyn

    It is a very sad for all involved, I know of someone who killed 2 people and who was also drunk and doing heavy drugs right before he hit and killed people and the ones he killed were in there mid twenties and a single mother and that person who took a mother from a child and a son from his family only got one year in a county prison, Tom got 3-5 yrs in state prison really?? Both accidents happened in the Wilkes-Barre area so that tells me yes they knew someone. What about the family that lost 2 people and that man got 1 yr. Everyone involved in Tom’s case yes both families are suffering and one family is going to suffer a little more because there beloved child is in heaven and Tom’s family can see him but people need to know regardless this young man (AND NO I DO NOT KNOW EITHER FAMILIES OR FRIENDS) will have to live with the pain and have flashbacks for the rest of his life and yes so will the other family but over time people who had loved ones pass times eases there pain and they can move forward but this young man will never ever be able to heal the pain that he will have to carry. And from what I have read the hate that has been said on here, I can’t believe it. People really what about child predators I don’t see this much hate for them, This young man maybe a very nice person with bad judgement think about if you were in his shoes don’t sit there and say you would have stopped because everyone panics and you do not think straight. So please let both families try to move forward and leave your nasty comments to your self. Don’t you think both families are suffering enough with out reading this hate? GOD BLESS THE MILLER AND LETTEER FAMILIES you both are in my thoughts and prayers

  • Nathan

    He did not run because he is a bad man he ran because he panicked. There is a difference. He panicked and made a poor decision.

    Also what kind of parents raise their child to stand up in front of a room of people and say ” “I wish the man who took Kevin would suffer a lot.”
    How horribly tragic that he was not taught to be compassionate and forgiving. How hateful.

  • Dave

    BTW not even Jason Dominick or the guy who is being brought up on 200 child molestation charges are getting the hate that Tom’s getting… How does that make any sense?

    • CaptainMerica234

      For accidentally killing a child.. It’s no different than if you hit a kid driving down your street during the day. Was he drunk? Probably… But the court can not prove that therefore it has to be treated like any other accidental hit and run.. If I was to run over a child during the day.. Maybe I would freak out and be so scared that for some reason I drive off instead of staying.. (Personally I wouldn’t of corse.. ) What I’m really trying to get at is… Yes he drove off.. And yes he didn’t admit to it(has a 5th amendment right not to).. As far as the court is concerned this is an accidental hit and run. I’m in no way defending him I’m only trying to explain as to why his sentence was probably so low

  • Jim

    I sat through the sentencing hearing today and what did I not hear. I never heard him say ‘I’m sorry’ to the family. He has yet to understand what he did. There is a place for people like this as we all know. We all make mistakes, but at some point we have to accept responsibility for what we do -good or bad.

    • Joe123

      Just because he didn’t say it while you were there doesn’t mean he never said it. How do you know he doesn’t understand? All of you people are so quick to jump at someone for making a mistake. I’m sure you fine people of Luzerne County are all just model citizens. He’s doing his time and will have plenty of time to live with his regret.

      “I feel terrible. I hope I can counsel people in similar situations after jail. I’m a good guy.”

  • someone who cares!!!!

    What if it was your child going to prison or yourself !!! What if it happened to you!! You don’t even know him!!!No one should be saying about putting him in a body bag WHAT IS WRONG with you people!!! He will do his time for one moment bad judgement he didnt hit him on purpose It was a accident!!! He probably got scared when it happened !! God bless him n the Miller family!!! He doesn’t need to hear people saying put him to death he has to live with this for the rest of his life !!!!I’m sure he will never forget that should be punishment enough one year would have been punishment enough or evn some jail with house arrest, but no the family knew too many people on the up I’m sure they called in favors!! He shouldn’t got all those years!!!!! Hope he will be safe n if something happens to him in prison I hope the people that talk smack comes back to you all!! You ever hear what goes around comes around !!! So think before you speak !!!!!!!

    • Shannon

      Someone that cares,
      I understand your compassion for this young man who seem to know personally. Its terrible that you wont be able to hang out with him for the next 3-5 yrs. but think of it like this..because your friend committed this terrible crime in Luzerne County, he will likely get out on good behavior.Then you’ll be able to hug, talk to, laugh with, and enjoy his presence once agin. Till that time youll just have to find out his visiting hours at LCCF and visit him there. How nice that will be for you. While your there though I hope you push this “poor Tom” heart bleed aside and think of Caroline Miller as your dtairing at Tom through the glass. I hope you realize there is a mother out there who cries herself to sleep at night. Who may still have unopened Christmas presents tagged To:Kevin From: Santa left over from the worse Christmas their family have ever, reminding them of the deepest sorrow they will never get rid of. There is a father who would gladly give his life fora 15 min visitation behind glass and a brother who undoubtedly will grow up slowly loosing the memories of his favorite play buddy but eill always remember the day his family as he knew it changed.
      You will have your Tom back, this family will never ever be able to have Kevin back. That has nothing to do with who The Millers know and everything to do with Tom. Hope you have a nice visit with your friend at the prison..if you want to talk about fairness, dont you thimk The Millers wish for visiting hours in heaven?

      • George

        It happened and it’s a horrible thing.. But Tom didn’t mean for this to happen. He didn’t try to hurt anyone.. He did what plenty of stupid people in the valley do every night.. He drank and he drove.. I completely understand what “Someone who cares!!!!” is saying. Tom doesn’t deserve all of this verbal abuse and threats he has been getting.. In the end he’s a good person who made a stupid mistake.. His life is never going to be the same.. I’d assume in the valley he will be looked at much like George Zimmerman is.. He’ll live with this mistake forever and it will effect every aspect of his life from here on out. I’d think that is punishment enough along with his prison time. But to assume he is a monster is ridiculous. He’s a person who made a wrong choice and everyone on this thread knows that if he could take it all back he would. Now should be about healing.

  • Jleon

    The time will never fit the crime. Never the lest, where ware the kid parents at the time of the accident? Why their little boy was unsupervised at that moment? I am a father of 5 girls and if my baby’s are going to be playing out in our yard I make sure that me or my gf is there watching. How come we get to punish one criminal and let the others go just because? I feel bad for the boy’s family, but they should be punish for not been there with him.

    • Bill

      Wow. The boy was holding his father’s hand when he was hit. Reading and writing are really not your thing, are they? Obviously, your parents failed you in both grammar and decency.

      • Bethany

        If this child was holding his fathers hand first why weren’t both hit and second if the father wasn’t drinking and seen the car coming why didn’t he pull his son back away from the road? I think they just told the police that because that does not equal up. As far as the young man who hit him think before you speak so nasty….even if he wasn’t drinking he probably would have panic because I did the same thing with an animal in the road and hid the damages from my husband. I know it’s not the same thing as hitting a child but I wasn’t drinking. So please people name calling is not nessasary.

    • Linda

      He should get life for taking a life…really what about all the other people that have hit someone and killed someone it don’t matter a child or not that is a terrible thing to say. If you ever accidentally hit someone I hope you get life that is terrible. And to keep you name Private really what are you afraid to revel who you are? Grow up!

  • Bill D

    I’m sorry but if he were remorseful he wouldn’t have that puss on his face walking out! He would be apologizing to everyone and sincerely upset for what he did!

    • Joe123

      Do you think they will? I’d like to believe inmates know a thing or two about mistakes.. Now someone who rapes a child or murders children intentionally, maybe… Not someone who hits one in his car on accident.

      You and the 25 people who liked this obviously haven’t put yourself in his shoes. Of corse the family has it the hardest but he still has to live with and regret what happened that night.

  • Jane

    I feel bad for everyone involved. The parents of the little boy and this young man that hit him.

    It was an accident from what I read, and he was young and scared. He made some bad choices. He will never get over this and neither will the parents of the little boy.

    God Bless all of them…

    • Unknown

      i do not feel bad for him, he got what he deserved. He is not young either he has a car and should know the rules of the road and the difference between right and wrong. i wouldnt god bless him maybe god help him because the inmates will not make his life easy he will suffer the consquences of his actions

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