A Lawrence man in prison for murdering his wife is getting married again. The bride was a witness at his murder trial.
Martin K. Miller, a carpenter and former Christian-school leader, is serving a life sentence for the strangling death of his wife, Kansas University librarian Mary E. Miller.
This weekend at the state prison in Lansing, Miller is scheduled to marry Laura Cuthbertson, who testified on his behalf at his trial.
A small number of family members, including Martin Miller's parents, plan to attend the Saturday afternoon ceremony.
"I love my son. He's going through hard times. Somebody has been there to help him, and I'm very grateful for that," said Miller's father, Keith Miller, who said he would attend the ceremony with his wife, Ocoee. "That turned into a relationship that ended up in marriage. I'm happy for him and grateful that he has that kind of contact with people outside."
Prosecutors said Miller, the 47-year-old former board president of Veritas Christian School, killed Mary Miller in July 2004 so he could pursue relationships with other women. Before the death, he was having a sexual affair with a Eudora woman, Carrie Parbs, and had gone as far as exchanging rings with Parbs during a "commitment ceremony."
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But after Mary Miller's death, Martin Miller broke off his relationship with Parbs and grew closer to Cuthbertson, an acquaintance from Victory Bible Church who began visiting him regularly while he was free on bond awaiting trial.
Cuthbertson, an acquaintance of Parbs, testified at the trial that she helped comfort Parbs after her breakup with Miller and helped "purge" Parbs' apartment of items related to Miller.
Then, in fall 2004, Cuthbertson told Parbs that she and Miller loved each other, according to testimony - a statement prosecutors alleged was evidence Miller had moved into a third romantic relationship. But Cuthbertson told jurors at trial that her relationship with Miller wasn't sexual and that she didn't know if it was romantic.
"I don't know my own heart yet," she testified.
Earliest release: 2030
Miller received a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for first-degree murder. He initially spent time at El Dorado Correctional Facility but was transferred to Lansing in December.
His first possible release date from prison, barring an overturned conviction, is June 7, 2030.
Keith Miller said he learned earlier this year of his son's plans to marry Cuthbertson.
"I know that they feel that even if the appeal doesn't produce some kind of different outcome, that they have made a long-term commitment," he said.
Keith Miller said he didn't know what to expect of the actual ceremony - for example, whether any food would be served. He said attendance would be limited to a small number of immediate family members.
The Millers' two teenage children, who have since been adopted by family friends, do not plan to attend.
Before an inmate in a Kansas prison can get married, he must prove he's eligible to marry, complete at least three marriage-counseling sessions and provide details about the ceremony and who will attend, according to Kansas Department of Corrections rules. The plans for the ceremony are subject to the prison warden's approval.
According to KDOC spokesman Bill Miskell, there were three marriages last year at Lansing, which has a population of nearly 2,500 inmates.
KDOC rules say that physical contact between Lansing inmates and their visitors should be limited to "a brief embrace and kiss at the beginning and end of the visit." Holding hands during the visit is acceptable.
Cuthbertson could not be reached Tuesday for comment.