Son of man slain in 1974: Chance for justice long time coming

Street performer ordered held without bond in 1974 murder

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After a street performer known as "Uncle Louie" was ordered held without bond Thursday in the death of a Jacksonville store owner, the owner's son told News4Jax that his family never gave up hope for a chance at justice.

Uncle Louie, whose real name is Johnie Lewis Miller, was transported to Jacksonville from New Orleans to face second-degree murder and armed robbery charges in the 1974 slaying of convenience store owner Freddie Farah.

Miller, 60, was booked into the Duval County Jail just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Farah's son, Bobby Farah, said that although it's tough reliving what happened to his father, he plans on being there through every step of the legal process for Miller. 

"If he's guilty of the crime, he needs to pay," Bobby Farah said. "The court system is going to have to do its thing and hopefully the justice system will work for us."

Bobby Farah said his family finally saw a glimmer of hope when investigators got a fingerprint match last year connected to his father's killer

"There was some inclination that something was going on, but I wasn't sure what. That's when I sat my mom down and told her something is fixing to happen, we just don't know what," Bobby Farah said. "The day they told us, my mom was in shock. I was in shock."

Prosecutors said at Miller's first appearance Thursday that on May 22, 1974, Miller went into the Grand Park Food Store and told Freddie Farah, 34, that there would be a hold up. Farah was at the counter and moved away but was shot.

Investigators were able to get three fingerprints from items they said Miller had placed on the counter and submitted them for a match in 1998. There was no match at the time, but on Dec. 28, 2016, the fingerprints came back as a match for Miller, and he was eventually arrested in New Orleans in May.

Online records show Orleans Parish Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell was presented July 11 with extradition papers signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Cantrell then ordered Miller to be transported to face the charges. 

Johnie Lewis Miller, known in New Orleans as "Uncle Louie." (Background photo courtesy Barry Newman)

Edwards' order was necessary after Miller refused to voluntarily return to face the charges.

Bobby Farah said that even while waiting for Miller to be returned to Jacksonville, knowing he was in custody was a relief.

"The fact that he was in jail, no matter where he was in jail, to me, was as important as him being here. It didn't matter," Bobby Farah said. "I just wanted him to be in jail."

Miller performed in the French Quarter as a human statue for more than two decades. People frequently took pictures with him and his miniature stuffed dog, Little Willie.

Bobby Farah said he doesn't have a punishment in mind if Miller is found guilty. He said he will leave it up to the courts to determine what is appropriate. 

Miller is due back in court Aug. 17.

Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.