Jury deliberates murder or manslaughter in case against Carlton man
ALBION – Jurors are deliberating whether Frederick Miller will be convicted of second-degree murder or a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend Rachel Miller.
Jurors began deliberations at about 10:50 a.m. following closing summations from District Attorney Joseph Cardone and Miller’s defense attorney, Robert King.
Miller admitted in court on Tuesday that he killed his live-in girlfriend. However, his attorney contends it wasn’t murder because Miller was suffering from an “extreme emotional disturbance” due to the loss of work, the serious illness of his mother and “a relationship that was falling apart.”
While Rachel Miller, then 53, was getting ready for work on March 4, 2013 at their Oak Orchard River Road home, Miller went into the bathroom and stabbed her in the neck with scissors. He then stabbed her in the torso and in the back.
She fled the house. Mr. Miller, then 61, stayed inside, but then went outside and found Rachel lying down in the snow. He snapped off a metal “Posted” sign and beat her with it.
Miller’s actions – the multiple stab wounds – are consistent with “snapping,” his attorney said.
“What happened to her is horrible,” King told jurors this morning. “It was a great tragedy. It wasn’t a murder. He was acting under extreme emotional disturbance.”
King cited the testimony of the medical examiner who said he had never seen a murder with a sign post. Very few deaths are caused from stab wounds from scissors, King said today.
He held up the scissors and the sign post for the jury to see.
“These are not murder weapons,” he said. “Any reasonable person knows this is not how you kill someone. These are what was in front of Fred Miller when his world came crashing down.”
Cardone urged the jury to return a conviction of second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Miller wasn’t emotionally disturbed, Cardone said.
“This case is entirely about control,” the DA said. “It is entirely about maniplulation.”
Miller was angry when Rachel wanted to spend Easter in Georgia with family, with Miller left behind. She angered him when she brought home baby chicks on March 3, the day before she was killed. And Miller testified he was mad when she took a long shower that morning.
“It wasn’t about extreme emotional disturbance,” Cardone said. “It was about his extreme arrogance, it was about his extreme selfishness, it was about his extreme narcissism and his extreme need to have control of his life and Rachel Miller.”
Miller twice made the choice to murder Rachel, first by stabbing her with scissors and then by beating her with the sign, Cardone said.
“He killed her twice,” Cardone said.
Miller then left Rachel lying in the snow, without a shirt, for the world to discover. She was found by a school bus driver.
“He stayed in the house and left her out there as a trophy,” Cardone said.
Miller refused to be examined by a psychiatrist. His attorney said Miller didn’t want to tell the worst day of his life to a stranger. Miller was honest with the jury on Tuesday, in reliving that day and sharing his financial woes and other disappointments, King said.
“He told you what went through his mind and how terribly sick he was,” King told the jury.
Cardone said Miller killed Rachel to have “the last word.” But now the jury gets a chance to speak, the DA said.
“Ladies and gentleman you have the last word,” he said. “You have the responsibility to find him guilty of murder.”