The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

March 27, 2012

Miller murder trial to jury Wednesday

OSCEOLA — Testimony and evidence presentation are complete in the first-degree murder trial of Michael Jamey Miller.

Judge John Lloyd met with attorneys for both sides of the case Tuesday afternoon to discuss jury instructions. The instructions are expected to be read Wednesday morning, followed by closing arguments by both sides. Jury deliberations will begin after that.

Following Tuesday's lunch break, Defense Attorney Jason Dunn questioned Miller outside of the presence of the jury regarding Miller's testimony. Miller has elected to not testify in this trial, and the testimony established that the decision not to testify was Miller's. A portion of the jury instructions will tell jurors they cannot interpret Miller's decision to not testify as evidence of guilt or innocence.

Marion County Attorney Ed Bull also said, for the record, that there was no plea offer made in this case.

When the jury returned to the courtroom, Vernon "Bud" Chiles, manager of Marzetti's, testified for the defense. Chiles has known Miller for approximately 14 years and also knows other key players in this case, Bernard Bussey, Terry Cobbins and Neida Pinon.

Chiles testified that he had seen Miller leave work to eat lunch in the past. Prior testimony suggested Miller rarely had lunch elsewhere, but did leave for lunch on the day of the murder.

Chiles also indicated that the policy of Marzetti's bars relationships between employees. Pinon worked under Miller at the time the two entered into a relationship.

During his cross-examination, Bull asked Chiles if Cobbins had worked a full day on Jan. 6, 2011, according to his records. Chiles indicated that Cobbins had worked a full day. However, Miller had told law enforcement that he had sent Cobbins home early on that date, the day before Teresa Miller was murdered.

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