The involuntary manslaughter guilty pleamade today by Midnight Riderdirector Randall Miller in the on-set death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jonesis a historic first. Miller, who this morning was taken out of the court and booked for criminal
trespass and involuntary manslaughter in the jail that sits adjacent to the Wayne County courthouse, will be the first filmmaker to go to prison for a film-related death.
In fact, in the 100 years between the death of Jones and the first production-related death — in 1914, when 16-year-old actress Grace McHugh drowned and cameraman Owen Carter died trying to rescue her while filming a scene for the movieAcross The Border – more than 80 people have died in 52 fatal accidents while filming in the U.S. Two cases resulted in indictments, but none of those were convicted. The Midnight Rider case has changed that.
Miller’s lawyer Ed Garland believes his client will likely only serve a year of the two-year sentence he received.