WJAC-TV: Elk Co. Man Requests Bail Modification at Formal Arraignment

ELK COUNTY – An Elk County man who was arrested for arson and attempted homicide in July requested a bail modification at his formal arraignment Monday afternoon.

Francis “Tony” Milliard, 54, is pleading not guilty to the charges against him. His attorney Michael Robert Hadley requested the judge consider bail modification for his client.

Hadley told WJAC-TV that Milliard’s bail is just more than $400,000.

Milliard told the judge he had two properties in the county. One property is his home in Ridgway Township; the other is his business on Market Street in Johnsonburg.

Hadley told the judge he believes that Milliard’s properties would account for roughly $208,000, and he should be able to post bail by using them.

Hadley said his figures were based on the county’s assessment records.

Unlike most formal arraignments, Milliard’s was fairly lengthy. The defense called four witnesses to testify, hoping to sway the judge into lowering Milliard’s bail.

Mark Lenze testified first, telling the judge he’s known Milliard for at least 10 years. He was also an antique business owner.

He said that Milliard, who has a construction business, has worked for him. He said most recently, Milliard finished an overhaul at his house.

Lenze said Milliard has a good reputation as a contractor and in the antique business. However, he said Milliard has had a rough time with his kids.  

Lenze said he (Milliard) always tried to help his kids and they always stepped on him.

Witness Rachel Smith said she lived across the street from Milliard in Ridgway Township for a period of time. She’s known Milliard for 20 years and often attended events, like barbecues, at his house while she was growing up.

Smith told the judge she currently has a daughter who considers Milliard her grandfather.

Krisha Buehler, Milliard’s fiancée, also testified for the defense. She and Milliard have been dating on-and-off for the last 10 years.

She said she has three children and they are anxious for Milliard to be released from jail.

She told the judge she would be cooperative if Milliard was able to post bail and had the option to wear an electronic device until trial. She said that she will soon be living at Milliard’s house along Long Level Road in Ridgway Township.

Milliard testified in his own defense at the arraignment proceeding. He told the judge that he doesn’t have a mortgage on either of his properties.

“I have no mortgages, no loans, nothing. I owe nothing,” he said. Milliard said he’s lived in his house since 1989 and has had his business in Johnsonburg for eight years.

Milliard said he was born in Riverside, CA and moved to Johnsonburg his senior year of high school. His parents are originally from Johnsonburg.

When asked how much money he had at the moment, he said there is $2,000 in his bank account. He said he had money in a safe that was inside his house. He said that safe was confiscated during a police search.

Milliard said that ever since he’s been placed jail, “everything negative you can imagine has happened.”

He told the judge both his house and business have been broken into since his incarceration.

He said right now, he can’t pay his bills and taxes and he has to sell belongings just to pay his bills.

He assured the judge even with his name being slandered, he can still find work in Elk County if his bail is lowered and he is able to post it.

“I plan on fighting this to the end. I am not guilty,” he said. Milliard said he plans to file lawsuits after he is found not guilty.

He told the judge he also has 10 classic muscle cars he believes are worth $100,000 that he would use to post bail.

The prosecution called the fire marshal and a Ridgway Borough police officer to testify.

The commonwealth is hoping their testimony will convince a judge that Milliard’s bail should not be lowered.

Milliard’s ex-wife, Trisha Milliard also testified.

After two hours of testimony, the judge and counsel decided a decision would not be made on Monday.

A judge will provide a written statement within the coming days as to whether he believes Milliard’s bail should be modified.

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