The trial of a Celina father who allegedly threatened workers at his child's elementary school will be in a jury's hands on Wednesday morning.
Ron Miller, 44, is charged with making a terroristic threat against a public servant after he allegedly told employees at Celina Elementary School that he had a gun and was a shooter.
Miller told police he was only conducting a drill to show school employees there were problems with security.
Several school employees and Celina police officers took the stand Tuesday.
Both women said that in January 2013 they knew Ron Miller from previous visits to the school, but did feel threatened when he said he was a shooter and that he had a gun.
The school's secretary testified that she has had to go to counseling because of what happened on that day and said her sense of security has been lost.
Miller's attorney grilled both employees about exactly what happened that morning and asked if they had felt so threatened why did they not call the police immediately.
Both women said their immediate reaction was to get the children who were in and around the school's office out of the way first.
The jury also got insight into Miller’s mindset that day in early January 2013.
George Milner III, Miller’s defense attorney, told NBC 5 his client was dealing with deep grief, after losing his 16-year-old daughter to cancer not long before the incident at Celina Elementary School.
Milner added the Miller family had dealt with security questions involving Celina Independent School District before, including, he said, that the Miller’s 7-year-old son was able to wander away from the school during the fall semester of 2012 – just months before Miller’s arrest.
Then, Milner said, the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut had his client thinking hard about school security in his hometown, adding the Millers couldn't bear to lose another child.
"What got this going was the Sandy Hook deal - and they had the Christmas holidays that intervened in between and he had some time to think - is this school really safe?" Milner said. "That was a factor - the child being allowed to wander off on his own was a factor, and personally I believe the loss of his daughter was also a factor. That was the most significant factor in his thinking. I've lost one child - I cannot lose another one."
Milner told the jury what is at stake in this case is not whether or not his client made a good or bad decision in conducting his own drill, but what matters is that the state can prove "intent" – that Miller was not reckless or negligent, but intended to make a terroristic threat.
The lead investigator in the case from the Celina police testified that, in his opinion, Miller’s intent was clear, because his behavior "escalated" as he moved from the sidewalk into the school office.
If Miller is convicted of this crime he could face up to a year in jail.