Mesa father accused of beating kids with belt, paddle; burning them with lighter

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Giammoda Lewis Miller, 37 (Source: MCSO) Giammoda Lewis Miller, 37 (Source: MCSO)
Giammoda Lewis Miller, 37 (Source: MCSO) Giammoda Lewis Miller, 37 (Source: MCSO)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Detectives with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office have arrested a Mesa father for the alleged repeat neglect and abuse of his children over the past three years.

Giammoda Lewis Miller, 37, was taken into custody May 2, 2018 and booked into Maricopa County’s 4th Avenue Jail.

He faces 24 felony charges including aggravated assault and child abuse.

Miller’s wife, Rafaela Miller, 35, faces similar charges for her part in the abuse, pending the outcome of the open investigation.

The arrest comes after an investigation that began on April 9, when investigators from the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) were alerted by staff at one of the victim’s schools about the potential abuse.

“Reporting acts of child abuse is the responsibility of every one of us,” said Sheriff Paul Penzone. “The sooner authorities learn about violent and neglectful behavior toward children, the sooner we can guarantee their safety.”

The victims, in this case, are Miller's 12- and 14-year-old biological children, who are the stepchildren of Rafaela.

The couple has four other children together. All six have been removed from the home by DCS.

Forensic interviews of the victims described incidents of being beaten with belts, a wooden paddle; being burned with lighters and incense; being threatened with a butcher knife and a Taser-type device and having food withheld.

The physical and emotional abuses were reported to have taken place over the past three years.

MCSO detectives served a search warrant on the Miller’s Mesa apartment which uncovered evidence that corroborates the accusations of the victims.

According to MCSO investigators, Miller made statements and admissions regarding the abuse and neglect after he was arrested, describing his actions as “normal progressive discipline.”

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