WARREN - A judge this morning increased bond to $1.5 million for Bradley Milligan as he pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering his sister last month and driving off in her 1996 Ford Contour.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Judge Ronald Rice scheduled Milligan, 48, who lived with his sister, Laura Michael, 51, in her Howland home, for a pretrial next Thursday.
Rice also unsealed an affidavit used by Howland police to gain a warrant to search the home at 8762 Howland Springs Road and to get a DNA sample from Milligan after he was arrested. The affidavit points out that the woman's daughter, who was at the house when police arrived on Dec. 18, noticed her mother's purse and cigarette tobacco were still at the house and didn't match details of the story that Milligan had given police.
In an initial search of the house, police found the woman's bludgeoned body in a light colored blanket in Milligan's basement bedroom, which was locked. Police also found a utility knife in his right rear pocket and considerable evidence including blood on his work boots.
Police were called to Michael's home on Dec. 18 after her daughter, who lives in Columbus, hadn't heard from her mother in several days. She told police that was unusual because the two spoke frequently.
A Trumbull County grand jury indicted Milligan last week in Michael's beating death. Milligan is facing two counts of aggravated murder and one count of aggravated robbery. The second murder charge was included in the indictment because the murder was committed during a robbery.
Milligan is being held at the Trumbull County Jail. His initial bond, set in Warren Municipal Court after he was arrested, was $250,000.
Milligan had a history of abusing his sister and was convicted of domestic violence in 2012 after Michael told police he had assaulted and threatened to kill her. Police and relatives said he had lived with his sister "off and on" for the past two years.