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

Dorothea E. McKinley

first_imgDorothea Eloise (Och) (Ashcraft) McKinley, of Aurora, Indiana, passed away Thursday evening February 23, 2017 at Manderly Care Center at Osgood, Indiana.She was born November 3, 1918 in the Walker Hill area of Aurora, IN, daughter of the late George Och and Bessie Withered Och.Dorothea was a professional seamstress, loved sewing, quilting, crocheting and gardening. In years passed she worked for the following places, Walker Dry Cleaners on Second Street, dress factory in Aurora, tomato factory in Rising Sun, Dillsboro Nursing Home and Dearborn County Hospital. She loved reminiscing about the early years in Aurora, and how things were then. Dorothea was a violinist, and when younger played in a Symphony Orchestra in local concerts. She attended the Baptist Church, and was also a member and active in the VFW 5312 and American Legion 231 Auxiliaries in Aurora.She leaves sons, Norman (Claudine) Ashcraft, San Antonio, TX., Charles Ashcraft of Milan, IN. and Steven (Glenda) Ashcraft of Aurora, IN; grandmother of eleven and great grandmother to thirteen.She was preceded in death by three sisters, sons Edwin Short and Guy Ashcraft, husbands, Guy Ashcraft and Paul McKinley.Friends will be received Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Rullman Hunger Funeral Home, 219 Mechanic Street, Aurora, Indiana.Services will be held at the Funeral Home on Wednesday at 11:00 am with Pastor Pete Bryk officiating.Interment will follow in the Oakdale Cemetery, Dillsboro, Indiana.Contributions may be made to the Aurora Life Squad. If unable to attend services, please call the funeral home office at (812) 926-1450 and we will notify the family of your donation with a card.Visit: www.rullmans.comlast_img read more

Sumner County Court Docket: The Sept. 30 report

first_imgby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following are a list of criminal court complaints recently filed by the Sumner County Attorney’s office.These are formal charges introduced into the Sumner County District Court system. The suspects listed in the complaint have not been tried by a judge or jury unless specified otherwise. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.•••••Kayla Chastain, born in 1988, of Emporia was charged with telephone harassment, a Class A misdemeanor.On Sept. 3, 2014, Chastain is accused of using a cell phone to send abusive messages to St. Francis in Wellington to a social worker, who  received 33 messages from her. She was released on $2,500 bond.•••••Thomas Mann, Jr., born in 1981, is accused of driving without headlights, a traffic infraction; driving while suspended, a Class A misdemeanor – second and subsequent offense; and two counts of possession of methamphetamine, a level 5 drug felony.Mann, Jr. is accused of having a small baggy containing meth in a Marlboro cigarette box in his car.His Sumner County preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 9, 2014.••••Sean Peoples, born in 1989, of Wichita was charged with failure to pay toll, a misdemeanor; no insurance, a Class B misdemeanor; transportation of open container of alcohol, a misdemeanor; possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a Class A misdemeanor.Peoples is accused of driving a vehicle with two open beer cans and also having an open bottle of whiskey in the console of the car. He also had marijuana hidden.His court deposition has been set for Oct. 16.••••Destiny Way, born in 1994, of Derby was charged with battery, a Class B misdemeanor; criminal trespass, a Class B misdemeanor; disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor; and endangering a child, a Class A misdemeanor.Way is accused on Sept. 16, 2014 of causing bruises to another person’s legs and arms in an attempt to help remove a 1-year-old from his paternal great grandmother.•••••Douglas Baker, born in 1971, of Key West, Fla. was charged with disorderly conduct, a Class C misdemeanor; and battery, a Class B misdemeanor.Baker is accused of angrily grabbing and yelling at another person during an argument on Sept. 24.last_img read more