Miller is sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Judge says the crime ‘one of the most painful deaths I’ve seen’

Frederick Miller

ALBION – Frederick Miller will spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his girlfriend, Rachel Miller on March 4, 2013.

Orleans County Court Judge James Punch gave Miller, 63, the maximum sentence today. The judge called the murder “one of the most tortuous, bloody, painful deaths I’ve seen.”

Miller was convicted of second-degree murder by a jury on Sept. 17, following a trial when he admitted to stabbing her with scissors. Rachel was still alive after being stabbed nine times with scissors.

She fled their house on Oak Orchard Road in Carlton and Miller broke off a metal Posted sign. Miller struck her three times in the head. Her body was discovered the morning of March 4, 2013 by a passing school bus driver.

“Imagine the pain and anguish that woman experienced as she left the earth,” Punch said during sentencing this afternoon.

Punch said he has been part of 20 to 25 murder cases as county judge and district attorney. Punch said Rachel’s death “was the cruelest and most protracted” murder in his career.

Frederick Miller’s attorney Robert King asked for mercy, saying the court should save the maximum sentences for people who commit “cold and calculated murders.” King said Miller “snapped” the day he killed his live-in girlfriend. King said it was “a great tragedy.”

“It was horrible, it was inexplicable and it was violent,” King said. “We don’t contest that.”

Miller, wearing the orange jumpsuit issued for county jail inmates, declined to speak during the sentencing. During his trial, he said he was depressed. He had lost a high-paying job at Kodak and was driving a bus for a fraction of his former pay.

His attorney offered a defense of “extreme emotional disturbance.” King said Miller wasn’t himself in the months leading up the crime due to a job loss, his mother’s serious illness and a deteriorating relationship with Rachel.

Rachel Miller

The judge didn’t believe that Miller snapped.

Rachel was stabbed with scissors in the bathroom, then the bedroom and then on the way out of the house. Miller then followed her outside and struck her with the sign post three times.

“You had plenty of time to stop and think,” Punch said.

District Attorney Joe Cardone said Miller’s selfishness and narcissism pushed him to commit “one of the most senseless killings” that Cardone has experienced in his two decades as DA.

Rachel Miller’s son addressed the court and asked the judge to sentence his mother’s killer to the rest of life in prison.

“We haven’t asked for anything,” Cody said on behalf of Rachel’s family and friends. “But you make sure we never have to see him again.”

Cody turned to Miller and used several expletives in telling him to die in prison. The judge said he wouldn’t hold Cody Miller in contempt of court.

“Fred, could you imagine your mother lying in the snow bleeding to death?” the judge said.

Cody said his mother was a loving person to her family, friends, students at Rainbow Preschool and also to animals. His mother was a speech therapist at Rainbow Preschool, which is run by The Arc of Orleans County. She was the mother of four children and grandmother to 14. Cody listed all of their names.

He fought back tears and had to pause and collect himself several times while he spoke during the sentencing.

“She lived a life of giving,” Cody Miller said at sentencing. “She never wanted anything but happiness. The world kept taking from her but she fought back by giving.”

The Arc and Rainbow Preschool last Dec. 6 dedicated the “Socio-Dramatic Play Center” in memory of Rachel, who was 53 when she was killed.

She worked with children ages 3 to 5 who had significant developmental delays. Many of the children have autism and some of them have not spoken a word by the time they enroll in Rainbow Preschool.

Cody Miller spoke of the dedication program for his mother last Dec. 6, when one student talked to a large group, thanking Rachel Miller for helping him to say his first words.

Three of Rachel Miller’s children – Amanda, Roy and Cody – attended the dedication for a play room in their mother’s memory on Dec. 6.

Cody said his mother was a positive influence on so many people, especially her family.

“She was there to pick us up when we fell and to hold us in a warm embrace and tell us it’s OK,” he said.

Cody thanked the local judicial system for working to bring justice in the case, even when the trial was delayed several times. Miller switched attorneys and his lawyer requested a psychological exam, only to have Miller refuse to meet with a psychiatrist.

Punch said he has tried to understand what provoked Miller in the attack. During the trial, Miller’s attorney said Miller became enraged when Rachel brought home baby chickens without consulting Miller.

Punch said bringing home chickens to nurture was in line with Rachel’s character.

“She was full of life, a ray of sunshine in that house,” Punch said.

He contrasted that with Miller, who felt he was a victim of life’s circumstances. He was envious of Rachel and her positive energy, the judge said.

“Rather than get off the couch you snuffed out this bright light,” the judge said.

King asked for mercy on behalf of Miller. The judge that will have to come from a higher power.

“It’s not up to me to show you mercy, Fred,” the judge said. “It’s up to God.”