Berlin Native’s Murderer Faces Life In Pa. Prison

BERLIN – The accused killer of a Berlin native and long-time Ocean City hotel and restaurant employee shot to death in his suburban Philadelphia home in February was found guilty of first-degree murder last week and now faces a mandatory sentence of life in jail.

Orphus Land, 47, who was born and raised in Berlin and attended Stephen Decatur High School, was shot to death in his suburban Philadelphia home on Feb. 25 by the 33-year-old son of a woman he married on the beach in Ocean City last August. Land worked for the Plim Plaza Hotel and the Jonah and the Whale restaurant in the resort for several years before getting married to Tina Miller on the beach last August and moving to Glyndon in the Darby Township of Pennsylvania.

On Feb. 25, Land was shot as many as 10 times at close range by his new son-in-law Tyrone Miller, 33, after an argument the two had over who did what around their home. Last week in a Darby Township courthouse, Miller was found guilty of first-degree murder and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. A jury of five women and seven men deliberated for over five hours before returning with a guilty verdict in the case.

The jury convicted Miller on the first-degree murder charge after prosecutors were able to convince them the execution-style shooting was premeditated, citing a long pattern of hostility between Land and his son-in-law. According to court records, Miller kept a journal outlining his hatred for his new father-in-law.

Defense attorneys, however, were seeking a lesser charge, claiming Miller shot Land in a moment of passion after being threatened by Land.

Miller told police after his arrest Land was fixing a broken door and as he passed him, Land said “I’m the only man in this house who can fix things.”

Miller continued on his way when Land followed him to his second-floor bedroom, blocked Miller from closing the door with his foot, entered the room and shoved Miller down. Miller told police he felt threatened by Land and retrieved a handgun and then fired the gun at his stepfather. Miller told police he then unloaded the gun, took it to the first floor and placed it on the dining room table.

Land’s brother Ivory Smith said the victim has two children, a son and a daughter who live in Snow Hill, along with three grandchildren. In addition to Smith, Land has a sister, Javonn, in Whaleyville and a brother, Patrick, in Salisbury. A formal sentencing date for Miller has been set for Aug. 24.

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