Newton Township man charged with assault breaking into home of pastor that baptized him

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NEWTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Lackawanna County pastor and his wife say they feared for their lives when a man they knew smashed into their home in the middle of the night.

They tell a story of survival and a decision they say not only saved their lives but also the life of the man who was apparently trying to kill them.

“But the sheer terror I can’t even describe to you knowing that this person wants to kill me,” Pastor Daniel Miller, the victim of the home invasion, said.

Pastor Miller of Newton Township says the home invasion has changed his life forever. It happened at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.

When he heard loud bangs at his front door, he saw 44-year-old Christopher Phillips, who kicked in the door of his home on Cherry Hill Road.

“I opened the door and yelled what are you doing here. He said ‘get out here you’re not Pastor Dan’. I said ‘I am Pastor Dan, two days ago I baptized you in the swimming pool right here’. He said ‘you did not, you’re not Pastor Dan’ and he said ‘get out here’,” explained Pastor Miller.

Pastor Miller continued, “He put his fists up. He wanted to fight me. He was going to beat me to death with his hands. Little did I know he did that to his father before, he thought he’d beat his father to death. I didn’t know that of course at the time.”

Investigators say before Phillips stormed the Miller home he attacked his father while he was sleeping. He allegedly beat his father so severely he suffered broken ribs and a broken jaw.

Miller told Philips he had a gun as he and his wife ran into the bathroom and locked the door.

“I knew if he breached the door and he’s coming in we have to do something and my only thought was God I don’t want to shoot somebody. I know his family so I don’t want to shoot anybody but at the same time if your life is in danger I guess I would have,” stated Pastor Miller.

Miller says he and his wife jumped out the bathroom window and ran barefoot through the woods to a neighbor’s house and called for help. Police took Phillips into custody.

“It’s sheer terror in the middle of the night. This got to be a movie this doesn’t happen to people. This is crazy running for your life from somebody who’s coming to kill you,” explained Pastor Miller.

Phillips is in police custody. He faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, burglary, criminal trespassing, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

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