By Ed Runyan
Bradley E. Milligan, 48, is charged with the murder of his sister, Laura L. Michael, 51, and will be arraigned this afternoon in Warren Municipal Court.
Howland police went to the home Milligan and his sister shared at 8762 Howland Springs Road at 4:06 p.m. Wednesday after Michael’s daughter called, asking them to check on her because she had not heard from her mother in a couple of days.
Milligan answered the door and said he “had not seen his sister” that day. However, Howland police received permission to search the house, and they found Michael dead, hidden in a corner of the basement, according to Howland police.
Michael had been “bludgeoned to death,” Police Chief Paul Monroe said, adding that the assaults came from someone’s hands and possibly from an “edged” item.
Police took Milligan into custody on warrants from Franklin County and from Warren Municipal Court. He is in the Trumbull County jail.
Milligan has lived with his sister and in Columbus for about two years, Monroe said.
In June 2012, Howland police were called to the home for a domestic dispute involving Milligan and Michael — in which Michael said Milligan had threatened to kill her.
Michael said Milligan asked her to buy him beer, but she didn’t, causing Milligan to threaten to stab the tires of her car with an iron rake. She fled from the house in her car but returned that evening.
After “hours of verbal abuse,” she called police, prompting Milligan to grab her arm, grab the phone out of her hand and throw it on the kitchen floor, breaking it. At the same time, he threatened to kill her, she said. Michael suffered a wrist injury but refused treatment.
Police arrested Milligan by breaking down the door to his downstairs bedroom, where he had locked himself in. He was charged in Warren Municipal Court with domestic violence and later pleaded no contest, receiving a sentence of three years’ probation and 30 days in the county jail.
Michael asked the court last December to eliminate an order the judge had issued in July that said Milligan was prohibited from having contact with her.
The court issued a warrant for his arrest Dec. 18, 2012, because he failed to pay his fines and court costs from the domestic violence case.
A sister of Milligan and Michael’s who didn’t want her name to be published said family members were concerned about Milligan because of his drinking problem. The sister said Michael “had a really good heart,” taking care of her father at the Howland Springs home before his death.
The sister thinks it’s likely that Michael asked that Milligan be allowed back into the house so he “wouldn’t be out in the cold.”
Michael would “help just about anybody,” the sister said. “That’s the way she was. She’d do without to help somebody else.”
The sister said Milligan did occasional construction work. Michael didn’t work.
Criminal records from Franklin County Municipal Court said Milligan had been ordered to have psychiatric counseling after being charged with inducing panic, disorderly conduct and failure to maintain physical control of a motor vehicle in 1997.
He was charged numerous other times with domestic violence, traffic violations and alcohol-related offenses in the Columbus area, according to court records.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and detectives from the Warren Police Department who are part of the Trumbull County Homicide Investigative Unit are assisting with the investigation.