Death penalty misses Miller

  By Abby Morris
star staff
  A Carter County man charged with murdering a young Elizabethton woman will not face the death penalty when he stands trial for the charge.
  District Attorney General Joe Crumley announced Monday that he will not seek the death penalty in the case of Robert Lee "Bob" Miller, 46, 221 Bill Nave Loop, who 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.
  "After reviewing the case with the investigators, my staff and the family (of Dubuque) we have decided not to seek the death penalty," Crumley said.
  According to Crumley, circumstances surrounding the case helped lead him to the decision. "To go for the death penalty, the aggravating factor would be the rape, and we would have to drop the rape charge, and I'm not willing to do that," he said. "You can't use the rape as an aggravating factor for the death penalty and charge him with the rape too."
  Miller will appear in court again on Nov. 1 for a motions hearing in the case and, at that time, a trial date will be set.
  Crumley said he is ready to proceed with the case "I can't comment on the evidence but I feel that we have a good strong case and we're ready to go to trial," he said.
  Dubuque's family was in court Monday afternoon for Miller's court appearance. Dubuque's mother, Gale Gentry, said she is pleased with the decision Crumley made not to seek the death penalty. "What we want is for him to be behind bars. We don't want him to be able to hurt anyone else. We don't want another child to have to grow up without a mother or a mother to go without a daughter," Gentry said. "We're pleased with the way they are handling everything. We are confident that they will make sure he'll be behind bars for a long time."
  Dubuque was reported missing on Feb. 16 by Gentry, who told police that her daughter had not been seen since Feb. 15 around 10 p.m. and that Miller was reportedly the last person to see her.
  The same day that Dubuque was reported missing, her vehicle was found on a bank of the Watauga River with the front wheels in the water.
  For two days, rescue workers searched the river banks looking for Dubuque. On Feb. 18, a fisherman discovered her body on the bank of the Watauga River in the Lynn Valley community, approximately one-quarter of a mile from where her car had been found.
  Miller was arrested on May 4 and charged after a grand jury had returned an indictment against him in Dubuque's death earlier that morning.