Hartselle man sentenced to 179 years in prison for sex crimes
By Emma Daniel
For the Enquirer
A Hartselle man was sentenced by a Morgan County judge Tuesday to 179 years in prison after a jury convicted him of sex crimes involving a minor.
A unanimous jury in September found Brian Matthew Mills, 40, guilty of first- and second-degree rape and incest. He was sentenced by Circuit Judge Stephen Brown. According to the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office, Mills was sentenced to 99 years on the first-degree rape conviction, 60 years for second-degree rape and 20 years for incest.
“Considering Mr. Mills’ conduct and the crimes for which he was convicted, we believe that the sentence that was imposed by Judge Brown was appropriate, fair and just under the circumstances,” District Attorney Scott Anderson said Wednesday.
The DA’s office said the Morgan County Department of Human Resources (DHR) received an anonymous tip in 2019 about inappropriate text messages from Mills to the victim, including some that referenced sexual encounters. A caseworker for DHR made contact with the victim at her school.
Mills in 2008 had pleaded guilty to second-degree sodomy and due to that conviction was a registered sex offender. The phone number Mills used in texting the victim was the same one he used to register as a sex offender, according to Decatur police.
Decatur police Detective Jarrod Birchfield began an investigation and on March 1, 2019, arrested Mills for a violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). During intake, authorities found a note in his wallet that appeared to be written by the juvenile female permitting Mills to impregnate her, according to an affidavit filed by Birchfield at the time.
The following day, the then-14-year-old juvenile victim was interviewed at the Morgan County Children’s Advocacy Center.
“The juvenile stated that Mills had been having sex with her since the age of 12. The female disclosed that she was scared of Mills and eventually stopped arguing with him about having sexual intercourse with him,” according to the affidavit. She also told police that Mills told her to write the note that was later found in his wallet.
Both the victim and a previous victim testified at the three-day jury trial in September, according to the DA’s office, and jurors “saw a multitude of text messages wherein Mills demanded the victim have sex with him, referred to her as his wife, and told her he wanted to get her pregnant.”
The victim also had input at the October sentencing hearing.
“The victim offered a compelling statement before Judge Brown pronounced the sentence, detailing the damage Mills had caused in her life,” according to the DA’s office.
Mills asked the court to give him probation.
Assistant District Attorney Joe Lewis prosecuted the case against Mills.