Lee Robert Miller accused of 26-year-old murder thanks to DNA on a cigarette butt

Lee Robert Miller accused of 26-year-old murder thanks to DNA on a cigarette butt

Lee Robert Miller left in 1995 and after his arrest Wednesday, now 54 years old. (Bremerton Police Department / Ada County Sheriff's Office) ((Bremerton Police Department / Ada County Sheriff's Office)) The barman did not know the man's name, but he remembered his hair: a fluffy gull . He was young, perhaps in the mid-twenties, but had a drink with a much older woman. The barman knew this: Marilyn Hickey, a 57-year-old divorced woman who lived alone in a studio apartment in Bremerton, Wash. In the night of September 8, 1992, she went to the Drift Inn Tavern, where she wanted to shoot pool, and closed it off with the red-haired man, and left with him in a taxi at about 2 o'clock the next morning. The bartender had seen them together before, but that night would be the last. Days later, after neighbors feared that she had only had an attack in her apartment, paramedics broke through a window with a pocket knife to enter. They found her half naked and strangled on her living room floor. The police feverishly searched for the identity of the man at the bar, without result. But what they did not know, at least not for 25 years, was that they already had his name: it was buried in the fine print in their file, a small footnote that was written down as a sort of afterthought. The name was Lee Robert Miller. For researchers, his name seemed to be only at that moment. They found a phone number on a piece of paper in Hickey's bag from one of Miller's friends, who told the police that Miller had introduced him to Hickey. But in 2017, Miller's connection seems more important. Kilometers away, in Boise, Idaho, the name of Miller surfaced again. This time, the Boise police found it buried in a second file on manslaughter, this was the fatal 1994 crash of a 49-year-old woman named Cheryle Barratt. Researchers did not think it was a coincidence: DNA data collected at that time and tested years later indicated that the same man was probably responsible for both slaughter. On Wednesday, Miller was arrested and accused of Hickey's death after DNA found on a cigarette butt that he threw outside his home corresponded to sperm on the Hickey crime scene and other DNA evidence found at the time of Barratt's assassination. Miller is not charged with the death of Barratt, but is still being investigated as a suspect, according to Boise and Bremerton the police in a joint statement. He is expected to be Monday morning in Kitsap County, Wash. Preceded. A lawyer for Miller could not be found immediately. "He deserves everything he gets," Robert Hickey, the victim's son, told local news channel KTVB. "And that's what I want to see: I want justice, worth 26 years, you have only one mother, he took it, he can never replace it." Bremerton Police Det. Martin Garland told The Washington Post that although detectives named Miller in 1992, it does not seem that they have ever called him. The friend whose phone number had been found on the piece of paper in Hickey's bag – a McDonald's worker named Mike – told researchers that Miller had introduced him to Hickey so that she could help him find apartments. Weeks later an anonymous informer said that Mike revealed that Miller sometimes went home with Hickey. But according to a sworn statement from the police, the original researchers never seem to have linked this information to each other. Garland eventually did it in 2017, when he started working in addition to cold-case detectives in Boise. The departments that were connected after realizing DNA that was left behind in each scene were similar to the same person due to modern tests that were not available in the early nineties. The problem was that they did not know who it was. Trying to figure out who it could be, said Garland, was like "policeman playing Go-Fish." "I would say, I have a" Joe Smith "in my case Do you have a" Joe Smith "in yours?" Garland said "We only had one person that we had mentioned in both cases, and that was Lee Robert Miller. Because he was the only one who appeared in both cases, we decided that we would consider him as a person of interest. In Barratt & # 39; s case, Miller's name was less striking. It came to light after a confidential informant told the police that Miller had admitted to having killed Barratt, according to the probable reason explanation. But the police had not taken the tip so seriously at the time: they paid another man, Floyd E. Parker Jr., with Barratt's murder – just to drop the accusations and release Parker two months later after officers of justice had established that there was not enough evidence, the statesman of Idaho reported. Garland began identifying Miller's movements in the Bremerton area in the early 1990s. He discovered that he lived in the area and was arrested in 1995 in Bremerton. He pulled out the booking photo and found a man with a red, collar-shaped mullet that collided with his orange overall. (Garland refused to disclose the alleged offense.) Garland and Boise detectives decided to monitor Miller, who still lived in Boise. They were hoping to catch a piece of his DNA. They got their chance on February 1, 2018, when they saw him walking outside his house smoking a cigarette. Once he threw it, researchers grabbed the butt. "I was able to meet her surviving children after the fact [to tell them the news]and that is for me the most satisfying part of it all, "said Garland." Even after 27 years we could find the person who we believe is responsible for killing Marilyn Hickey. "Robert Hickey told KTVB that he did not know if the day after he died, he said after his mother's death that he called researchers every week to ask for progress, before it was finally every month, and then every year, and after 26 years the resolution of the case was almost out of reach. He kept all newspaper cuttings from 1992 in a folder on his shelf and told KTVB: "This is all I have left of her."