Brother of Des Moines Man Burned to Death Speaks Out

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines man will not spend life in prison for killing his stepson.

Randy Miles Jr. appeared in court Friday to take a plea deal.

Back in 2017, Christopher Lenhart’s car was doused in gasoline and set on fire while Lenhart was trapped inside. He later died.

“[He was] happy, loved his family [and] talked about always wanting to be with his family no matter what it was,” Lenhart’s brother Nicholas Lenhart said.

Lenhart’s stepdad, Randy Miles Jr., will go to prison for his death.

Originally, Miles was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree arson, but he accepted a plea deal and pleaded guilty to lesser charges of involuntary manslaughter and fleeing the state to avoid prosecution.

“I was having an argument with Christopher Tyler Lenhart. I threw an open container of gas at him, his vehicle. The gas ignited, and he died later of his injuries,” Randy Miles Jr. said. “I went to North Dakota [at] Grand Forks. Because after the incident I found out Tyler was injured, and I found out officers were looking for me and I wanted to avoid talking to them.”

Miles could be eligible for parole after serving 15 years of a maximum 30-year sentence. Nicholas Lenhart says that is not justice.

“Not at all. I feel like they gave him a slap on the wrist,” Nicholas Lenhart said. “All of us are just all unhappy about what he got. We think he should have to serve mandatory 30 years starting.”

Nicholas says he wanted this case to go to trial.

“If we have to, we’ll make sure he never gets out. We will keep showing up and making sure he never gets out at all,” he said.

Miles’ sentencing is scheduled for March 2019.


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