Man Arrested For Rape and Murder

Miller faces multiple charges in death of Dubuque

By Abby Morris
Star Staff

   Police arrested a Carter County man Tuesday after a grand jury handed down an indictment earlier that day charging him with murder in the February death of a young mother.
   Robert Lee "Bob" Miller, 45, 221 Bill Nave Loop, was arrested by officers of the Carter County Sheriff's Department and charged with first degree murder, felony murder and aggravated rape.
   He has been charged in the death and disappearance of 22-year-old Kristal Gale Dubuque, 427 W. G St., Apt. 11.
   According to police reports, Dubuque was reported missing on Feb. 16 by her mother Gale Gentry, who said that her daughter had been missing since 10 p.m. on Feb. 15. "She said she'd been in contact with Dubuque's employer, who she identified as Bob Miller," Elizabethton Police Department Sgt. Jack Ramsey said at the time of Dubuque's disappearance. "She said that Miller told her that he had dropped Dubuque off at her car, which was parked at the Sunoco on U.S. Highway 91, subsequent to her assisting him on a surveillance on Blue Springs Road."
   While Ramsey was investigating the disappearance of Dubuque, CCSD deputies were responding to a call about a vehicle that had been discovered underneath the Hunter Bridge on Broad Street Extension with the front wheels of the vehicle in the water.
   The vehicle was later determined to be Dubuque's vehicle, and rescue workers began searching the river and river banks for her, but no sign was found.
   While investigating Dubuque's disappearance, Ramsey spoke with Gerald Williamson, father of Dubuque's roommate, David Dwayne Williamson. "He (Gerald) told me that Dubuque's employer, Bob Miller, had called (David) Dwayne at approximately midnight and asked if she (Dubuque) had arrived safely," Ramsey said in his report. "According to Gerald Williamson, Miller called several times through the night and told them that he had already checked through Lynn Valley and that they did not need to look in that area. Gerald Williamson stated that he had looked anyway, but did not think to check around the bridge where the car was actually found."
   Two days later, on Feb. 18, Dubuque's body was found lying on the bank of the river behind a residence in Lynn Valley, approximately one-quarter of a mile down stream from where her vehicle had been found.
   According to Carter County Sheriff John Henson, evidence in the case began to lead to Miller early in the investigation. "He was the last person to see her alive so naturally that is where you start," Henson said, adding that "several things" led to Miller in the case.
   At the time Dubuque's body was found, Henson said that he believed that the murder had taken place somewhere else and that her body had either been placed on the river bank or into the river and then washed ashore. Henson declined to comment on Tuesday about the location investigators believe the crime took place. "All I'm going to say about where the murder took place is that it happened in Carter County," Henson said.
   At a press conference held Tuesday afternoon, Henson announced that the autopsy report on Dubuque had finally been released. He said that the official cause of death was suffocation and that evidence discovered during the autopsy showed that she had been sexually assaulted, but he declined to elaborate on the information. "I'm not going to get into a whole lot of that right now because it might compromise the case," Henson said.
   According to Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill, Miller appeared before Criminal Court Judge Robert Cupp on Tuesday and his bond was set at $500,000.
   Hill also said that the death penalty will be considered in the case against Miller but ultimately that decision would be left up to District Attorney General Joe Crumley.
   Additional charges were filed against Miller during the course of the investigation which are not related to the disappearance or murder of Dubuque. According to Hill, Miller has been charged with violating state laws which regulate bounty hunters. "You have to meet certain criteria in Tennessee (to be a bounty hunter) and Mr. Miller has not met those criteria," Hill said.
   According to an affidavit filed in Carter County General Sessions Court, Miller was charged with violation of the bounty hunting law.
   The affidavit states that while investigators with the CCSD and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were interviewing Miller about Dubuque's disappearance, he told them that he was working as a bounty hunter. "It was discovered during an interview with (Miller) that Ms. Dubuque had been in his company on Feb.15, 2004, conducting surveillance with him on Highway 91. (Miller) stated that Ms. Dubuque had been assisting him in attempting to apprehend a female who had jumped bail from A-Hood Bonding Company," states CCSD Inv. Todd Hamm in the affidavit, adding that Miller provided investigators with a copy of the appearance bond on the female subject as well as appearance bonds on other subjects he was attempting to locate.
   The affidavit further states that a criminal history check on Miller revealed that he was convicted of second degree burglary on July 12, 1977 and felony theft on Nov. 8, 1978 in Plainfield, Ind., under the name of Robert Lee Powell. Miller was also convicted of receiving stolen property, a Class D felony, on June 10, 1991, in Salem, Ind. According to state laws regulating the profession of bounty hunting, anyone who has been convicted of a felony is prohibited from being a bounty hunter in the state of Tennessee.
   Miller is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court before Judge Robert Cupp and also in General Sessions Court before Judge John Walton on May 7.
   Gentry, Dubuque's mother, was teary-eyed on Tuesday after she heard the news of Miller's arrest and was finally told how her daughter had died.
   "I feel relieved. Maybe I can sleep at night," she said. "I don't understand why yet. That baby sure could use his Momma right now. I do the best I can, but I'm not his Momma."
   The baby that Gentry is speaking of is Dubuque's young son, Skylar, who is now 22 months old.
   One of the hardest parts of dealing with her daughter's death is realizing that her grandson is going to grow up without his mother, Gentry said. "How do you explain to him when he asks, 'How did my Momma die?'" she said. "How do you tell him that she was raped and murdered?"
   Gentry said that she had thought from the beginning that Miller was responsible for her daughter's death. "I was real worried for a long time that he would do it to someone else too," she said.
   Police reports state that Gentry and her husband filed a police report about receiving harassing telephone calls from Miller while the investigation into Dubuque's death was going on. "He called several times and said that he didn't hurt her, that he'd never do anything to hurt her, that he loved her.
   "I thought, 'You didn't even know her. How could you love her,'" Gentry said. "It killed me to know that she's six feet under and she's not free to walk around but he can go visit her grave and then call and tell me about it."
   What has helped her family get through this tragedy has been the support of the community, Gentry said. "I don't mean just the money," she said. "Since this has happened, a day hasn't gone by that someone hasn't come into the restaurant and took me by the hand and said that they wished us luck, or that they were praying for us.
   "That has helped so much. It's helped keep me from going crazy."