Day 8 of Winston Corbett trial in the murder of professor James Miller

During the eighth day of Winston Corbett’s trial for the murder of James Miller and attempted murder of Linda Miller, Corbett took the stand in his own defense.

When Corbett took the stand he confirmed he is 25 years old and has not had a haircut due to COVID-19 restrictions. He has been in custody since his arrest in this case in October 2018.

The defense entered into evidence multiple pictures showing Corbett in 2011 – when he was 16-years-old.

The defense also distributed the suspect sketch in this case and a BMV photo of Corbett in 2011.

Corbett’s attorney asked him about the type of footwear he wore in 2011.

Corbett testified he either wore a pair of gray Vans or running shoes. He said he was wearing the same pair of gray Vans when he was arrested in 2018.

In 2011, he also wore glasses and had braces.

He testified he didn’t know the Miller family but had been in band with Lauren in middle school and had a Spanish class with her in high school. He said he didn’t really know her, she was just an acquaintance.

After high school, Corbett joined the Navy. He served on four submarines during his time in the Navy.

He testified when he left the Navy in the summer of 2018 he returned to Goshen and lived with his mother and stepfather, but couldn’t remember the exact address. He planned to take a year off school to travel, then attend Full Sail University.

Corbett testified about the day detectives went to his house and asked him to come in to speak with them about a burglary.

He rode with detectives and spoke with them voluntarily.

At first he thought it was about the burglary but then the topic changed and he said he was caught off guard. He said he didn’t have a full understanding of what was happening.

When the detective informed him they knew the who, what, when and where of the murders, they didn’t know the why. How did he respond?

He asked what tied him to the case and detectives wouldn’t tell him. He said his initial reaction was that the murder happened in a different part of Goshen, he didn’t know it happened that close to where he lived.

His attorney asked him, “On October 9, 2011 did you go to the Miller’s house and commit these acts?”

“No,” Corbett replied.

How did his DNA get to the scene?

Corbett said he had to do surveys for school and sometimes went door to door. And they sometimes went door to door for fundraisers, but he has never been in the Miller home.

He said he had no idea how his DNA got there.

The defense then turned over questioning to the state.

The state asked about the house where Corbett lived in 2018. Corbett confirmed the house faced a bike path that he used and rode on his bike.

Corbett testified his older sister went to Goshen College at the time and even though she lived in the dorm, she often stayed at the house.

The state asked Corbett if he got picked on. He replied, “No.”

He was also asked about whether he studied Taekwondo.

Corbett testified he studied Taekwondo for five years. Mostly for self-defense, blocking skills, and striking skills. He was a black belt for the academy but had not taken the test.

He also testified in 2011 he played video games like World of Warcraft.

During his testimony, the state asked Corbett about being punished in the Navy. Corbett confirmed he was punished for making a false official statement. He said he was already off the ship at the time.

The state then went through the details of the crime asking Corbett about each step along the way, including whether he was wearing gloves: took off his glasses; wore dark clothes and a hoodie; had a knife; went to the Miller house; cut the screen; entered the house; went into the bathroom and stabbed Linda in the face, head and back; stabbed James Miller in the bedroom; followed James through the hallway to the foyer; then through the garage and to the end of the driveway where the attack continued.

Corbett said no to each allegation by the state.

The state mentioned Corbett was injured somehow and left blood by the baseboard in the foyer, his DNA on the front door handle and DNA on the roadway near James’ body. Corbett said he didn’t do it.

During redirect, the defense asked about Corbett’s statements about whether or not he knew Leann Miller. He said when police asked if he knew the Miller kids, he hadn’t put a face to the name, but that he did know Leann.

Corbett also testified he volunteered to provide his DNA during the initial interview.

During re-cross, the state asked about why Corbett had no explanation for why his DNA was in the house, despite being in jail for two years.

The state then asked Corbett if he was a “cool cucumber.” He said Corbett was stabbing Jim Miller in the bedroom, stopped the attack, looked at Linda Miller and smiled, didn’t you?

Corbett said “That would be sadistic, so no.”

The court then recessed for lunch.

After lunch, the defense rested its case.

The state and the defense then presented their closing arguments around 2 p.m.

Closing arguments were complete at 5:10 p.m. The judge then gave the jury instructions for their deliberations.

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