Facts of the Crime:
Gene Stuart was convicted of murder by torture in 1982. His victim: three-year-old Robert Miller, the son of Stuart’s girlfriend Kathy Miller.
Stuart, who was living with the child’s mother and had assumed a parental role, struck Robert in the abdomen when the child refused to eat his lunch. Later, Stuart found the boy having difficulty breathing and took him to the local hospital, where he was pronounced dead from internal hemorrhaging from a ruptured liver.
Court documents state that Nick Albers, then sheriff of Clearwater County, was called out to the hospital on a possible child abuse case. Over the course of the investigation, Albers contacted several women from Stuart’s past, many of whom painted a picture of ongoing abuse and domestic violence.
Kathy Miller testified against Stuart, but claimed she was not aware of the abuse. Experts testified they’d found evidence of earlier injuries inflicted upon the child — internal and external bruises, a subdural hematoma and on his head and a broken arm.
After weeks of testimony, a jury found Stuart guilty — the first murder by torture conviction in the state of Idaho.