Suspect in 1972 Murder Dies in Apparent Suicide Hours Before Conviction

first_imgA man who eluded homicide investigators in Washington State for nearly 50 years — until a DNA match on a coffee cup cracked the cold case — died in an apparent suicide on Monday just hours before a jury convicted him of murder, the authorities said. The man, Terrence Miller, 78, was charged last year with killing Jody Loomis in 1972 in Snohomish County, which is about 20 miles north of Seattle. – Advertisement – Just before 10 a.m. on Monday, sheriff’s deputies in Edmonds, Wash., responded to a report of a suicide and found what they believed to be Mr. Miller’s body, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said. Mr. Miller had been out on bond, and a family member reported the suicide, the sheriff’s office said. About three hours later, in Snohomish County Superior Court, a jury that had been hearing the case against Mr. Miller for two weeks convicted him of the murder of Ms. Loomis. The judge in the case announced in court that Mr. Miller had died, a local radio station reported. A final determination on Mr. Miller’s cause of death won’t be made until at least Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the county medical examiner wrote in an email on Monday night. When two undercover detectives visited a ceramics business that Mr. Miller ran with his wife out of their garage in November 2018, they noticed a nearly seven-month-old newspaper on a table with a headline about an arrest made in another cold case in Snohomish County, the affidavit said. That case involved the double murder of a young couple from British Columbia in 1987, which led to the conviction of William Talbot II.“The presence of the newspaper seemed, at best, an odd coincidence,” the affidavit said. “A fair inference could also be drawn that the defendant was keeping track of the techniques that law enforcement was using to solve cold cases.” Genetic genealogy has been instrumental in identifying more than 40 suspects in languishing cold cases, most notably the so-called Golden State Killer in California. It also led to a double-murder conviction in another high-profile case in the same Pacific Northwest county where Ms. Loomis was killed. – Advertisement – Ms. Loomis, 20, had been riding her bike to visit her horse at a nearby stable when she was sexually assaulted and then shot in the head with a .22-caliber gun, according to a probable cause affidavit.Investigators used genetic genealogy, a process that involved crosschecking DNA evidence — taken from a hiking boot worn by Ms. Loomis — with ancestry records to connect Mr. Miller to the unsolved murder. They did not know each other, the authorities said. center_img – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Terrance Miller in a photograph believed to have been taken around the time Ms. Loomis was murdered.Credit…Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office For decades, the killing of Ms. Loomis had stumped investigators. A couple who had gone out target shooting discovered her partially nude body off a secluded dirt road near Bothell, Wash, on Aug. 23, 1972. Semen was recovered from Ms. Loomis’s body and from a “waffle stomper” hiking boot that she had been wearing at the time and had borrowed from her sister. In 2008, the samples were sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory for DNA testing, but they did not return a match. The breakthrough in the case came in 2018 when investigators, working with Parabon NanoLabs, were able to put together a family tree of possible suspects based on the semen sample found on the heel of the victim’s hiking boot. The company uses DNA to help law enforcement agencies find genetic matches.That’s when investigators began their surveillance of Mr. Miller, whom they followed to a nearby casino and from whom they retrieved a coffee cup that he had thrown in the garbage, the probable cause affidavit said. The DNA sample was an exact match to the semen found on Ms. Loomis’s boot, the affidavit said. He was arrested in April 2019 and charged with first-degree murder.Both of Ms. Loomis’s parents are deceased, and her sister could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday night. Laura Martin, the public defender for Mr. Miller, contested the integrity of the DNA evidence in an email to The New York Times on Monday night.“Death seemed preferable to letting a jury decide a verdict on tainted evidence,” Ms. Martin wrote. “This is a terrible tragedy that began with Jody Loomis’s death and is compounded by an innocent man taking his own life.”last_img read more

Pearson hits back at MOTD pundits

first_img The Foxes boss, who was rumoured to have been sacked on Sunday, has accused them of making “a mountain out of a molehill”. Pearson is unhappy with former Leicester player and presenter Gary Lineker and guests Danny Murphy and Jermaine Jenas for their interpretation of his flashpoint with McArthur. Pearson said after the game he could “look after himself” and Lineker responded by tweeting: “Ah Nigel Pearson is blaming MOTD for making a mountain out of a molehill. We’d best be careful in future, the fella can look after himself.” He then hinted on Twitter Pearson was sacked by one member of the Srivaddhanaprabha family, who own the club, before being reinstated by another. The ex-England striker added when asked if he was a fountain of knowledge: “If I was I’d tell you that he was sacked by one of the owners’ family and reinstated by another, but then I’m not.” The club took almost four hours on Sunday evening to dismiss claims Pearson had been axed. They go to Arsenal on Tuesday bottom of the Barclays Premier League after three straight league defeats but the boss insisted his authority at the club remained intact. “Everybody I work with would recognise my role at the club as being the leader and that is how I intend it to continue,” he said. “I am very happy to shoulder the responsibility for my football team. I work for a football club I have worked for on two occasions, you think it’s three but it’s two.” The pair clashed during the Eagles’ 1-0 win at Leicester on Saturday after the midfielder collided with the manager, and Pearson appeared to grab McArthur by the throat before holding his shirt. Lineker called it “strange” and Murphy questioned whether there was an “underlying” issue after McArthur’s transfer from Wigan to Leicester collapsed in the summer. Pearson said: “I thought they were slightly disruptive, yes. I don’t care what they think of me, I pay my tax bills. I didn’t see it until the morning. “It’s not helpful when the three fountains of knowledge on Match of the Day make a mountain out of a molehill, there’s nothing in that on Saturday. The lad’s okay and it was very light-hearted. “He has said that too. It was all very light-hearted, if you see the pictures it was with smiles. “He’s a likeable lad who dealt with it well afterwards. He explained there was nothing going on. “These things happen. I have had both my knees replaced and I did take quite a nasty tumble. “I think there’s been a disproportionate amount of coverage about one or two negative things which have happened.” Leicester boss Nigel Pearson has rounded on Match of the Day pundits after his scuffle with James McArthur. Press Associationlast_img read more