Miller could face death penalty

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   No decision has been made regarding whether or not state prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man charged with raping and murdering an Elizabethton woman.
   According to District Attorney General Joe Crumley, he has not decided whether he will file paper work seeking the death penalty in the case of Robert Lee "Bob" Miller.
   Miller, 45, 221 Bill Nave Loop, was indicted by a Carter County grand jury on May 4 and arrested later that same day on charges of first degree murder, felony murder and aggravated rape in the death of 22-year-old Kristal Gale Dubuque, 427 W. G St.
   At the time of Miller's arrest, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hill said that the death penalty will be considered in the case against Miller, but ultimately that decision would be left up to Crumley.
   Statements made during a court appearance for Miller before Judge Robert Cupp in Criminal Court on May 7 indicated that the district attorney's office is not currently considering the death penalty. "It does not appear that the district attorney is going to seek the death penalty," said Attorney Clifton Corker, who was appointed by the court to represent Miller, following the court proceedings on May 7. "That's what the judge said and Assistant District Attorney Ken Baldwin confirmed that."
   Crumley said that he has not made any decision regarding the death penalty in the case. "I was shocked that the judge even brought that up," Crumley told the Elizabethton Star on Monday. "I never make that decision this early in the case. For me to make that decision this early would be reckless."
   When asked if the state is considering the death penalty, Crumley said he would make that decision after seeing evidence in the case.
   Following Miller's appearance in court on May 7, Dubuque's mother and step-father, Gale and David Gentry, expressed their displeasure over the statements made in court indicating that the death penalty was not being considered. "I would like to see the death penalty," Gale Gentry said. "She didn't have a choice, so why should he?"
   Crumley said that, since Miller's court appearance, he has spoken with Dubuque's family about the issue of the death penalty. "I have talked with the victim's family and told them that before we decided anything we would sit down and discuss things with them and make sure they understand what is going on," he said.
   According to police reports, Dubuque was reported missing on Feb. 16 by her mother 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."
   Dubuque's car was discovered parked underneath the Hunter Bridge on Broad Street Extension with the front wheels of the vehicle in the water on the morning of Feb. 16. 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.