Day 3 in trail of Winston Corbett who is accused of killing professor James Miller
Court began Wednesday with the testimony of Dr. Bailey who treated Linda Miller at Elkhart General Hospital around 1:30 a.m.
Dr. Bailey found cuts to her head and scalp, a fracture in her forehead and a metallic foreign body in the injury, he testified.
She also had a punctured lung that required the insertion of a chest tube.
Dr. Bailey treated her life-threatening injuries and then she was transferred to South Bend Memorial Hospital.
The second doctor who testified, Dr. Joseph Prahlow, was the forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on James Miller.
Miller suffered 25 stab wounds and 25 “incised wounds” for a total of 50 sharp force injuries. He also suffered fractures to his nose, both cheekbones and his skull due to blunt force trauma, Dr. Prahlow testified.
Miller was stabbed in the head and it chipped a piece of bone in the skull.
During Dr. Prahlow’s testimony, the defense objected to photos from the autopsy that were entered into evidence. The judge overruled the objection because the photos were necessary for Dr. Prahlow to discuss his autopsy findings.
Court recessed for lunch when Dr. Prahlow completed his testimony.
After the lunch break, Detective Steve Priem with the Bristol Police Department was called to the witness stand.
In October 2011, Priem was a Detective with the Goshen Police Department and investigated this case for a little over a year.
When he first arrived at the scene, it was already marked off with police tape and a log was being kept of who was at the scene.
Because Linda Miller suffered life threatening injuries and was going to be transferred from Elkhart General Hospital to South Bend, Detective Priem went to the hospital to conduct an initial interview will Linda.
At the hospital, Priem noted she was bloody and suffered severe injuries.
He conducted an initial interview with her and she said the suspect was a white male, young, possibly high school, with a “baby face,” clean shaven, slender, dark hair, wearing dark colored hoodie.
His initial interview with Linda was 5-10 minutes. Priem said she appeared to be aware of what was happening, but had a flat affect and didn’t show much emotion.
Priem also notified Miller’s children about the death of their father.
Following the interview with Linda, Priem returned to the crime scene.
He said he walked around an noticed an open window with a cut screen on the south side of the house. He also noted what appeared to be footprints in the grass that was wet with dew.
Priem was asked about his investigation and whether he ruled any suspects out. He said they looked at the fact there were other burglaries in the area, investigated family, friends, acquaintances, and the college. He even looked into the basketball club in Ohio Miller was involved with.
He also noted he told Linda she was a suspect and had not been ruled out.
The prosecution asked Priem about the suspect sketch that was released the day after the murder. He said he didn’t realize it would be made so quickly and thought it was too generic. He thought it looked like every other white male in that age group.
He added he thought it looked like Justin Bieber.
After the sketch was released, they received over 200 tips, but many were too vague to be useful. There were some tips that were forwarded to be investigated. None helped identify the suspect in the crime, he said.
Priem told prosecutors he worked the case from October 2011 to December 2012 when the case was given to another detective. At the time he believed the DNA would be important, but he said there still were no suspects at the time.
Defense attorney Peter Britton cross examined Priem.
Britton asked about the sketch and whether Priem thought it was useful.
Priem said he wouldn’t say it shouldn’t have been released or that it didn’t have value, he just wondered at the time if they would get any useful information from it.
In response to questioning, Priem testified he conducted a second interview with Linda on October 13. Over the course of the investigation he showed her 5-7 photo arrays but she never identified any of the subjects as the suspect.
Once both sides completed questioning, Priem was dismissed for the day but could be called again.
Following the afternoon break, the prosecution called two witnesses who lived near Goshen College in 2011.
Donald Miller and Glenn Reinford testified about attempted break-ins at their home in 2011.
Miller said he called police after noticing a window at his home was broken and the screen was damaged.
He said police were nearby at a neighbor's so they didn't take long to respond.
On the night of October 8, 2011, Reinford and his wife were in their bedroom asleep and he and his wife were awakened by a loud banging.
At the time they had no idea what the noise was.
The next day they heard about the murder at the nearby Miller house.
They walked around their house and discovered the ground cover around one of their basement windows was disturbed and the screen had been cut.
They believe the noise they heard was someone running into their downspout.
He testified they then called police.