Death penalty still on table in Miller case   

By Abby Morris
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  During a hearing Thursday for a Carter County man accused of raping and murdering a young Elizabethton mother earlier this year, District Attorney General Joe Crumley said he has not yet made a decision whether the state will seek the death penalty.
  Robert Lee "Bob" Miller, 46, 221 Bill Nave Loop, is charged with first-degree murder, felony murder and aggravated rape in the death of 22-year-old Kristal Gale Dubuque, 427 W. G St.
  Dubuque's mother, Gale Gentry, told police on Feb. 16 that her daughter had been missing since 10 p.m. 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 investigated Dubuque's disappearance, CCSD deputies were responding to a call about a vehicle discovered underneath the Hunter Bridge on Broad Street Extension with the front wheels in the water. They later determined the car belonged to Dubuque and began a search for her.
  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 a police 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 was found.
  According to Carter County Sheriff John Henson, evidence in the case led 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.
  Miller was arrested on May 4 and charged in Dubuque's death.
  Crumley said in Carter County Criminal Court Thursday that many factors must be considered while in a decision whether to file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty. "I believe there are aggravating factors in this case, but, right now, I have to see if this is a case the state would file a notice of intent to seek the death penalty in," Crumley said. "I have an appointment with the family of the victim scheduled in the next couple of weeks." Crumley said he will speak with Dubuque's family about the death penalty and will also help them understand the judicial process as the case progresses.
  Miller is scheduled to appear in Carter County Criminal Court Aug. 16, and Crumley said he should have a decision prepared at that time.
  Miller also faces misdemeanor charges for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and casual exchange of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana). Those charges were heard in Carter County General Sessions Court earlier this week and were bound over to a grand jury.