CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County teen is going to jail for 11 years in connection with the 2021 shooting death of a Capital High School freshman.
Chrishaun Coller, 16, was sentenced to the maximum time Thursday in Kanawha County Circuit Court on charges of involuntary manslaughter and wanton endangerment. Da’nija Miller, of Charleston, was shot and killed in Aug. 2021.
Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers said although Coller is a teenager who made a bad decision, he should pay the price for committing “adult crimes.”
“If you’re going to behave as an adult, then you have to face adult consequences,” Akers said.
Kanawha County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Cantrell said Coller was messing around with a gun in the woods near Miller and then a second time in her bedroom. Cantrell said that second shot on Aug. 15, 2021 ultimately killed Miller.
“They were absolutely senseless acts of violence that resulted in the ultimate consequence for Da’nija and her family, ” Cantrell told the judge.
Da’nija’s mother Sierra Miller fought back tears as she addressed Coller in court. She asked him why he fired a gun twice around her daughter.
“I just want to know, if you didn’t have a problem with my child and it was an accident, why did you attempt to do something to her a week before?” she asked. “I just ask today that he get the maximum sentence because I know that this was not an accident. You intentionally killed my child.”
Coller apologized to the family and said he never meant to put Miller’s life at risk.
“All this was a mistake. I’m very sorry,” he said. “I never meant for anything to happen like this.”
While locked up, Coller said he still thinks about the day Miller died.
“I pray for their family every night and for my forgiveness. I made a lot of mistakes in the past and I’m willing to take the consequences,” Coller said.
Akers told Coller he has his whole life ahead of him, but Miller does not.
“Doors are permanently closed for Da’nija Miller. She’s done. She doesn’t have an opportunity to better her education. She doesn’t have an opportunity to be there for her family. She doesn’t have an opportunity to have children. Her mom doesn’t have an opportunity to have grandchildren,” the judge said.
Akers also addressed the issue of young people using firearms.
“If you can’t feel the power of a firearm somewhere when you shoot it the first time and you realize it doesn’t click in your head what would happen if you pointed that at somebody or you were careless with it and it fired and killed someone, obviously you shouldn’t have one,” she said.
The judge will reconsider Coller’s case when he turns 18 on July 29, 2024.