Crime

Boise man arrested in cold-case killing expected to plead guilty

Police say Lee Robert Miller, a 54-year-old Boise man, is a suspect in the murders of two women in the 1990s. The murders occurred in Boise and Bremerton, Washington.
Police say Lee Robert Miller, a 54-year-old Boise man, is a suspect in the murders of two women in the 1990s. The murders occurred in Boise and Bremerton, Washington. Ada County Jail

A man charged with murder in the 1994 killing of Boisean Cheryle Barratt has pleaded guilty to a separate murder charge in Washington state and is expected to plead guilty in Idaho.

Lee Robert Miller, 54, pleaded guilty at Kitsap County Superior Court in Washington through an Alford plea on April 12 in the 1992 killing of Marilyn Hickey, according to the Kitsap Sun. He is expected to plead guilty soon in Boise, the newspaper reported, and prefers to be sentenced in Idaho because of family ties.

“He wants to do his time” in the Gem State, defense attorney Jeniece LaCross told the Sun. “Washington has an interest in him doing his time in Idaho as well, as far as the cost. For that to happen he needs to be sentenced in Idaho first.”

Miller was arrested in January and charged with second-degree murder when DNA collected from a cigarette butt matched DNA found at the scenes of Hickey’s death and Barratt’s death. He is being held at the Kitsap County Jail on a $2 million bond. He was arrested in Idaho and held at the Ada County Jail first, and then extradited to Kitsap County.

According to a statement of probable cause from Bremerton, Washington, police, Hickey was found in her studio apartment with injuries “indicative of manual strangulation” in September 1992. Semen was also found at the scene at the time, though it was unable to be matched.

That case “went cold” after a few months; no arrests were made and a few pieces of evidence were found at the scene. The case was reopened in 2006 when unknown DNA found at the scene of Barratt’s killing matched the unknown DNA from the Hickey slaying.

Bremerton Police Detective Martin Garland, who authored the statement of probable cause, wrote that he opened Hickey’s death as a cold case in 2017, as did Boise police on the Barratt case.

Boise police were able to obtain a sample of Miller’s DNA on Feb. 1, 2018, from a cigarette butt, according to the statement of probable cause. Miller’s DNA was submitted to the Idaho State Crime Lab and was found to match the DNA at both scenes.

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