April Tinsley's Mom Hopes for Death Penalty for Daughter's Killer: 'I Want to Be the Last Face He Sees'

Playing Suspect in 1988 April Tinsley Cold Case Killing Appears Before Judge

The mother of an 8-year-old girl who was killed three decades ago is sharing her relief that a suspect has finally been apprehended — and her hope for capital punishment.

"They said, 'They got him,'" Janet Tinsley told reporters. "Pretty much that's all I needed to hear — 'They got him.'"

On April 1, 1988, April Tinsley was abducted as she walked to a friend’s house, just two blocks from her Fort Wayne home. 

Three days after April went missing, her body was found in a ditch. Police said she was raped and strangled. 

For 30 years, an arrest was elusive — until this past week, when police arrested 59-year-old John Miller in connection with her death. 

Investigators said DNA evidence found on April's body was submitted to a genealogy database. The results led them to two brothers in the Fort Wayne area. After collecting a DNA sample from Miller's trash, police said they had their match.

Tinsley was in court this week with her supporters to see the defendant with her own eyes.

"You got that chill feeling goes from top of head to bottom of toes," Tinsley said. "Want to believe it and can't believe it. It's been so long, but it's been good."

Speaking to the Journal Gazette Tuesday, Tinsley said she is pushing prosecutors to seek the death penalty. 

“If he does get the electric chair or the gas chamber or whatever, I'm going to be there and I'm going to be pushing the button,” Tinsley told the paper. “I want to be the last face he sees.”

Miller has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and child molestation. He is being held without bond. 

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