Jack and Rebecca Lee Mills — charged with shooting a Santa Barbara man in the head during a home invasion on the Westside on March 1 — were driven from the Nye County Jail (240 miles outside Las Vegas) to Santa Barbara this weekend, nearly three months after they were first arrested. The Lompoc couple had waged a vigorous campaign to resist efforts to extradite them back to Santa Barbara County. Ultimately, it required what’s known as a “governor’s warrant” to overcome their efforts.
The Millses had allegedly staked out a home on West Gillespie Street — a few feet from Harding Elementary School — on the mistaken belief that the tenants had a safe larded with cash. They gut-punched the woman who answered the door, and when the woman’s nephew came to her aid, Jack Mills purportedly shot him in the head with a .45-caliber handgun. The man did not die, nor did he ever lose consciousness. He has, however, suffered significant health problems. Police say the victims had no history of criminal activity and point out that they were described by their landlords as ideal tenants.
The Millses fled to Pahrump, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas, where they stayed with one of Rebecca Lee Mills’s sons by a previous husband. The son refused to allow Jack Mills into his home. Initially, Mills stayed at a homeless shelter in Las Vegas, but after getting kicked out, camped out in his 1993 black Volvo sedan, which he parked in the driveway of his stepson’s home. That’s where a team of 12 federal marshals and Santa Barbara cops arrested him. No charges have been filed against two other suspects in the crime — described at the time of the incident only as two black males — nor are they in custody. Bail for Mills was set at $1 million, and for his wife — who drove the getaway car — at $500,000.
This article has been amended for accuracy since its original posting, which stated that Jack Mills had been convicted of child abuse and molestation. That is not correct. While one of his daughters had, in fact, leveled such accusations against Mills in 2003, the district attorney’s office declined to press charges, citing lack of evidence. Two years later the daughter recanted, saying she had made it up.