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Missoula man pleads not guilty to killing his mother

Miller Murder
Posted at 9:19 AM, May 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-17 12:35:32-04

Miles Otis Miller says he's not guilty in the death of his mother Taeko (Teri) Miller who was found dead over the weekend in a South Avenue home.

Miller, 21 years old, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in Missoula District Court to charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence. The judge set bail for Miller at $2 million.

Charging documents state that Miller called 911 on Saturday afternoon and reported that his mother – 68-year-old Taeko (Teri) Miller - was unconscious and covered in blood on the floor at the bottom of the basement stairs and was not breathing.

Missoula firefighters arrived first at the scene and told police officers that a woman was dead and to call a coroner.

A Missoula police officer saw a large amount of blood surrounding Taeko Miller’s body and also saw a bucket near the body with white vinegar cleaning supplies in it and an unused mop next to the body.

Miller told police he had just woken up from a nap and that he had been sleeping all morning. Miller said he sleeps with headphones and a fan and is hard of hearing. He also said he last saw his mother at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 2023.

Miller Murder
Miles Otis Miller, 21, pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence on May 16, 2023, in Missoula District Court.

During questioning, police noticed he had scratches on his hands which were slightly red and swollen. Miller told police he had a skin condition, and his hands sometimes crack and bleed.

A Missoula Police detective saw the blood spatter around the victim and believed it was caused by some forceful action, according to court documents.

Miller was then taken to the Missoula Police Department for further questioning.

He told investigators that he had seen his mother the night before and stayed at the home overnight, waking up at about 8 a.m. and then going back to sleep until about noon. Miller said he found his mother shortly after that time.

The detective told Miller that her death was now being investigated as a homicide. Miller said he didn't want to say anything that would contradict what he had said previously, then asked for a lawyer and the questioning ended.

Detectives obtained a search warrant and found a small ivory-handled knife with a serrated edge inside the dishwasher. Additionally, at the top of the stairs where Taeko was found, there were socks turned inside out, signifying they had been taken off.

A bathmat that appeared to be new was found in the victim's bathroom. Two large garbage bags were also found in the bedroom closets. The bags contained a bathmat and sandals with blood on them. Additionally, pieces of mail with writing on the back of a letter that stated, "Mom is trying to destroy us" were also discovered in the bags.

Detectives also found a piece of carpet with potential blood stains. The section of the carpet appeared to match an area of carpet cut from near where Taeko's body was found.

The medical examiner found approximately 30 stab wounds from a sharp object on Taeko Miller‘s body. Her throat had also been cut and multiple cuts on her fingers and both hands were found.

Following a more thorough search of the garbage bags the following day, detectives found a pair of sweatpants and a T-Shirt with blood stains and suspected human tissue on them.

There were also multiple pieces of paper in which handwritten notes were found with statements including "Alibi: break-in next door" and "She has too much power", "no regrets, no remorse", "dissociate. But don't answer questions with specifics," "Ask what happened. Act dumb. Act sad," and "See it as a game!"


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