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one of clovis west finest

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Ken Kaniff:
Son of Fresno news anchor suspected of armed robbery
The Fresno Bee

FRESNO -- Armed with a bank surveillance photograph -- and with the help of Facebook -- a police detective testified Thursday that the armed robber who held up people at automatic teller machines in northeast Fresno last summer was Benjamin Milam.

Officer Steve Craig identified Milam, the 21-year-old son of KFSN (Channel 30) news anchor Liz Harrison, as the robber who police had under surveillance in July.

Craig is one of several police officers who will testify in Milam's preliminary hearing in Fresno County Superior Court. The hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence for Judge Gary Orozco to order Milam to stand trial.

 Prosecutor Jarrett Cline has subpoenaed Harrison as a witness.

Milam, who has no prior criminal record, wore a red jail jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg irons in court. He has pleaded not guilty to robbery and drug charges that his lawyer said stem from his addiction to painkillers.

Outside court, attorney Charles Magill said Milam became addicted to prescription medicine while dealing with soccer injuries at Clovis West High. "He had so much going for him, so much potential," Magill said. "But drugs ruined him." Magill said his client is sorry for his actions.

A criminal complaint accuses Milam of robbing three people at gunpoint and attempting to rob another person. He also is charged with unlawful possession of Methadone, Oxycodone and a hypodermic needle, and resisting arrest. Prosecutors say he faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted.

Harrison could not listen to the testimony against her son because she is a potential witnesses. In general, all witness, including police officers, are barred from the courtroom until they testify.

Very sad. This could be any one of us here who have kids. Let's not judge the kid on a BB or in the paper.

I have seen a lot of slams against CW but this is a kid with a real drug problem that could have easily been at any schoold in America...so while I generally practice restraint...Ken get a life it might be your kid one day!!

It's interesting that this story gets so much attention, partly due to Mom's identity, and partly to the Clovis West affiliation.  It was a big story when he was arrested last summer.

If this were a kid from south of Shields robbing his neighbors at gun point for drug money, we wouldn't be talking about it because it wouldn't be newsworthy.  But the reality is that the value of a kid's life is exactly the same, regardless of where he lives or who his mother is.  Does the media expect this type of conduct in some neighborhoods, but not others?  Are the penalties stiffer in some neighborhoods than others?  

Hopefully justice will be blind.  But I suspect the media hype and public opinion will be skewed.  

Ben and my boy grew up together.  He is a good kid who stumbled, and will now pay a heavy price.    

The expectations are higher for that young man......when minorities with limited options "stumble" they get a court appointed lawyer and do serious time.....and no one notices, especially the papers.  When someone who seemingly had the world on a string "stumbles" it is newsworthy because people with resources CARE about this young man......that's the difference!


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