Archive for Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Kansas Supreme Court hears Martin Miller appeal

Photos at heart of argument

April 25, 2007

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— Pornographic photographs found on the computer of Martin Miller, a Lawrence man who was convicted of killing his wife, were at the center of Miller's appeal before the Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Miller, a carpenter and former Christian school leader, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2004 strangulation of Mary Miller, who had been a Kansas University librarian.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

On Wednesday, Miller's attorney Sarah Ellen Johnson said the jury in his trial shouldn't have seen the pornographic photos because they were irrelevant to Mary Miller's death.

Johnson said the photos were meant to improperly prejudice the jury against Miller.

But Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said the photos were needed to help substantiate the prosecution's theory that Miller killed his wife because he was leading a double life.

Branson was vigorously questioned on this point by Justice Lee Johnson, the newest member of the state Supreme Court.

"He didn't need to kill his wife to pursue that part of his life," Justice Johnson said.

Branson was also questioned by justices about referring to Miller as "the killer" in his closing arguments to the jury.

Justice Robert Davis said prosecutors aren't supposed to call defendants "killer" until after the person is convicted. "Killer is a perjorative," he said.

But Branson said he had to prove to the jury that a murder occurred and that Miller was the murderer.

"There was no engaging in name-calling," he said.

Aside from attorneys in the case, Laura Cuthbertson, who married the incarcerated Miller last year, was in the courtroom. She declined to comment after the hearing.

Cuthbertson's testimony at the trial is also in dispute. Miller's defense attorney says her hearsay testimony about Miller's relationships with other women shouldn't have been allowed.

Comments

deec 8 years, 2 months ago

Actually he did need to kill her, if as many of that ilk believe, that divorce is worse than death. If you take "til death do you part" seriously, then when one partner wishes to pursue his/her other relationships, he/she must be freed of the other. This is particularly true when the cheated-on party finds out about the adultery and threatens divorce.

GSWtotheheart 8 years, 2 months ago

I agree deec, especially in a lot of cases you see now-one kills the other I think because they would rather take their chances on getting away with it, and having in-laws, the police, media, kids and everyone thinking the dead person "ran away" I guess if you don't think it through, you might think you can get away with murdering your spouse and hope that nobody ever finds out the good thing is that with all the technology now, it's a lot easier to figure out someone was murdered or hurt and that they didn't just "run away" also, I can't remember the exact stats but I've seen and heard a comment that a murderer makes like 25 mistakes when they kill someone and try to cover it up, and that if you remember 15 or something, then you have a chance of getting away with it I am so glad the cops can figure most of that out though!

kugrad 8 years, 2 months ago

Since he did it and there is no reasonable doubt, lock this loser back up and throw away the key. The photos were relevant to show motive, to show how deceptive he was, to show his character is that of a chronic liar, to show what he had hidden in his secret compartment (per earlier LJW stories). He is a killer and he doesn't deserve to waste the time of the court in my opinion. He had a fair trial and he was guilty as hell. His own kids testfied against him. There is no other reasonable explanation. He did it. He needs to pay the price for his actions.

KUDB99 8 years, 2 months ago

3/1 that they send it back for a retrial? Any takers?

perkins 8 years, 2 months ago

Sounds like the DA screwed up. Oops. Another trial. It's only money, right Lawrence and Douglas County elected officials?

KS 8 years, 2 months ago

There is no justification for murder, regarless if one has taken a vow "till death do us part". That is meant in a natural way, not murder. Further, that is of a religious conotation and I am very surprised that this evolutionist, secular society of this town would even consider or talk of a "vow". If he is guilty, he must pay the punishment. That is not for me to judge.

JSDAD 8 years, 2 months ago

GIVE HIM A NEW ONE BUT MAKE IT WORTH DOUBLE OR NOTHIN

JSDAD 8 years, 2 months ago

or just offer to give him the pictures if he will give up the appeal

Ceallach 8 years, 2 months ago

Figures he would have a female lawyer. Next thing you know he will divorce his jailhouse bride (since his preferred form of attaining singlehood is currently impractical) and marry the attorney.

gkwhdw 8 years, 2 months ago

Miller doesn't deny that he's guilty of his wife's murder, so why does it matter if they showed pictures? Seems strange his case is already at the supreme court's level after such a short time, usually it takes years. Wonder how he handled getting so far so fast? I feel for the mother's children, they're the ones paying the price for their Dad's stupidity. Didn't take him long to remarry,what a loser rat!

july241983 8 years, 2 months ago

actually, he does deny killing his wife. And, first degree murder cases always start in the kansas supreme court.

moderation 8 years, 2 months ago

Branson should have let a real prosecutor handle the case instead of grandstanding on a murder trial.

HappyFace 8 years, 2 months ago

Well, it will be three years in July since Mary died. I don't know if that is a short time for this appeal to go before the Ks Supreme Crt. or not. All I know is that alot of lives were destroyed. Everyone forgets about the mistress. Although what she did was wrong....she was in love with the guy. She messed up....big time...but was brave enough to face the music (sordid that it was) and testify. I thought she was very brave....especially when she knew that she had been dumped so that he could take up with Ms. Cuthbertson.....(wonder if he had them both going at the same time?). Anyway, here's hoping that he loses the appeal so that everyone doesn't get put thru it again (especially his poor kids!)

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