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Nicole Dawn Miller Gets 50 Years in 2013 VA Slaying of Talon Vermillion
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Thread: Nicole Dawn Miller Gets 50 Years in 2013 VA Slaying of Talon Vermillion

  1. #1
    Administrator Heidi's Avatar
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    Nicole Dawn Miller Gets 50 Years in 2013 VA Slaying of Talon Vermillion




    Grand jury indicts Miller for capital murder

    Nicole Dawn Miller, the Woodstock woman arrested in early June after the death of her boyfriend’s 20-month-old son, has been indicted on a charge of capital murder.

    A five-man, two-woman Shenandoah County Circuit Court grand jury indicted Miller Wednesday. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.

    Miller, 25, was arrested soon after the June 5 death of her boyfriend’s son, Talon Vermillion. The child was treated at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital before being airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center where he died two days later.

    Miller had been left to care for the child while his father, Jeremy Vermillion, was at work.

    She told police the child had struck his head on a commode and a piece of furniture in the days before his death. Hospital personnel, however, said bruises found on his body were not consistent with those typically resulting from falls or impact with objects.

    Talon Vermillion was Jeremy Vermillion’s child by a previous relationship. Two other children occupied the Valley Vista apartment with Miller and Vermillion, one hers by a previous marriage and the other a child they had together.

    Miller initially was charged with child abuse and child endangerment, but those charges never went to a preliminary hearing.

    Rather than to seek an indictment in General District Court, Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda Wiseley opted to take the case against Miller directly to the grand jury.

    Not until Wednesday was it known publicly that Wiseley would seek an indictment for capital murder. The prosecutor’s case will rely heavily on forensic evidence and testimony of medical personnel who treated the child in his last hours.

    Handcuffed and wearing loose-fitting gray jail pants and a top, Miller appeared briefly before Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp Wednesday afternoon.

    Woodstock attorney William B. Allen III, who had been appointed earlier to represent her on a lesser charge, spoke with Miller briefly before Judge Hupp asked a series of questions.

    In response to a question, Miller said she had been receiving public assistance until being arrested.

    The judge asked her if was married, had a job or a source of income, money in the bank, if she owned real estate or a vehicle. She answered no to all questions.

    Judge Hupp told her that because of the seriousness of the charge, he would appoint two defense lawyers. The director of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission already had declined to take her case, the judge said.

    The judge said he would locate “competent counsel” and scheduled her next court appearance for July 17, likely the time he will introduce her to those who will represent her.

    She is not likely to be arraigned until lawyers have had time to meet with her, and that could take months.

    Sheriff’s deputies immediately led Miller out of the courtroom. About 50 spectators were in the courtroom, many to hear other matters. She did not look toward the audience.

    Jeremy Vermillion, the boy’s father, also has been charged with child endangerment but is free on secured bond, awaiting an Aug. 8 court appearance on that charge.

    Miller has been in jail since first being arrested.

    Woodstock Police Department investigators Derek Good and Scotty Thompson appeared before the grand jury Wednesday. Good and Thompson handled the investigation into the child’s death.

    Early in the investigation, Good said Miller had told him that during the late afternoon of June 3, the child was left in a room to play on the bed with her 17-month-old son. When she heard a noise about 20 minutes later, she said she entered the room to find the child on the floor with his eyes partially open.

    She said he was breathing but not “like he normally does.” She phoned E-911.

    Asked about bruises found on the child, Good said Miller told him that the two toddlers fought often and that her son may have pushed Talon. She also said that in days leading up to the injury, the child had hit his head on the commode and a nightstand.

    An emergency room doctor at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital who examined the child said his injuries were not consistent with those usually inflicted by another child of similar age.

    Until her arrest Miller and Vermillion shared an apartment at 135 Valley Vista Drive.

    Vermillion had been granted custody of Talon after the child’s biological mother, Tiffany Mays of Winchester, failed a series of drug tests.

    All three children have since been placed in homes of family members, according to Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reilly.

    http://www.shenandoahfreepress.com/article.php?ID=4409
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  2. #2
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    Death penalty attorneys appointed for murder defendant

    Nicole Dawn Miller will be represented by 2 attorneys from Harrisonburg as she faces a charge of 1st degree murder involving the death of a child from injuries reported at her Woodstock apartment in early June.

    The court-appointed lawyers, John Holloran and William Eldridge, appeared on behalf of Miller for the 1st time at a hearing Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

    "I appreciate your willingness to take this case," Judge Dennis L. Hupp told Holloran and Eldridge after announcing the appointment.

    State law requires defendants facing a possible death penalty sentence to be represented by lawyers certified for practice in that area of the law.

    Authorities have accused Miller of killing a 20-month-old child identified in court documents as the son of her fiancee, Jeremy Alexander Vermillion. Vermillion, who was not home at the time police believe Miller injured his son on June 3, has been charged with felony child endangerment.

    Miller appeared relaxed and was animated as she spoke with two other female jail inmates seated in an area of the courtroom reserved for prisoners while they waited for the judge to appear and call their cases. Miller also looked out frequently toward spectators in the courtroom.

    Eldridge met with her in a jury room to introduce himself and begin discussing the case after the hearing was completed. Her next court date is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sept. 18.

    Miller, 25, has been in jail since June 3 when she was initially charged with child abuse and child endangerment.

    Police called to her apartment at 135 Valley Vista Drive reported finding a 20-month-old boy not breathing and bruises covering his face and body.

    The child's breathing was restored on the way to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, but he died 2 days later at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

    A doctor at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital told police that the boy's injuries appeared to be caused by abuse and were not self-inflicted. Miller had insisted to police that she believed the boy's injuries came from falling off a bed or from contact with another child.

    (Source: The Northern Virginia Daily)
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  3. #3
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    Commonwealth to seek death penalty in child death case

    Only 40 women have been executed in the United States in the last 100 years, but if Shenandoah Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley has her way, Nicole Dawn Miller will become the 41st.

    Wiseley announced Tuesday she was taking the rare step of seeking the death penalty for a female defendant should Miller be convicted of first-degree murder.

    Wiseley did not comment on the reasons for her decision.

    "I can't comment," Wiseley said Tuesday afternoon. "I think when the evidence comes out at trial, it will very clear why we chose to seek the death penalty."

    Authorities have accused Miller, 25, of killing a 20-month-old child identified in court documents as the son of her fianc, Jeremy Alexander Vermillion. Vermillion, who was not at their Woodstock apartment at the time police believe Miller injured his son on June 3, has been charged with felony child endangerment.

    Police called to her apartment at 135 Valley Vista Drive reported finding the child not breathing and bruises covering his face and body.

    The child's breathing was restored on the way to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, but he died two days later at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

    A doctor at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital told police that the boy's injuries appeared to be caused by abuse and were not self-inflicted. Miller told police that she believed the boy's injuries came from falling off a bed or from contact with another child.

    Wisely filed the notice of her intent to seek the death penalty in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday. The notice states:

    "...by and through her undersigned attorney, and hereby provides notice to the Defendant NICOLE DAWN MILLER, having been indicted by the Grand Jury of Shenandoah County for one offense of Capital Murder, that upon a finding of guilty of Capital Murder at the trial of this matter, the Commonwealth intends to seek the penalty of death on the grounds that there is probabilty that the Defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing serious threat to socieity and/or that her conduct in committing the offense for which she stands charged was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind or an aggravated battery to the victim, pursuant to Virginia Code Annotated 19.2-264.2 (1950, as amended)."

    Miller is represented by Harrisonburg-based attorneys John C. Holloran and William W. Eldridge. She is scheduled to appear in Shenandoah County Circuit Court at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a status hearing.

    Wiseley admitted that prosecution of a death penalty case is lengthier, more exacting and runs a higher risk of bogging down in appeals to higher courts than a case in which the defendant's life is not at stake.

    "There's a lot of additional motions," Wiseley said.

    The execution of Teresa Lewis by lethal injection on Sept. 23, 2010 was the last involving a woman in Virginia. Lewis was convicted in the murder of her husband and stepson on Oct. 30, 2002 in what authorities described as a plot to claim insurance money. The killings were committed by two hired gunmen, Matthew Shallenberger and Rodney Fuller, both of whom were sentenced to life in prison.

    Lewis is the only woman to have been executed in Virginia since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled explicitly in 1976 that properly written death penalty laws are constitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Lewis is also only one of 13 women offenders in the United States executed since 1976.

    Virginia currently has 10 inmates on death row, all of them men, according to a state-by-state database compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/09/...death-case.php
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  4. #4
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    Prosecution, co-counsels confer over murder case

    The prosecution and defense in the Nicole Dawn Miller capital murder case gave brief accounts of where they stand Wednesday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court before agreeing to another status hearing at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4.

    Miller, 26, appeared in court with co-counsels John C. Halloran and William W. Eldridge, both of Harrisonburg. She smiled toward members of the audience as she was led back to jail at the end of the hearing.

    Miller is accused of killing a 20-month-old child who was the son of her fianc, Jeremy Alexander Vermillion, according to authorities. Vermillion has been charged with felony child endangerment, although he was not with Miller or his son at 135 Valley Vista Drive, Woodstock, the night Miller allegedly injured the boy.

    Police arrived at the apartment on the evening of June 3 to find the child not breathing and bruises covering his face and body. He died two days later at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

    Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley filed a notice Monday in Shenandoah County Circuit Court stating her intent to seek the death penalty for Miller.

    Steve Milani, who leads the Capital Defender Office in Roanoke, said Wiseley's decision to seek the death penalty means the Miller case will be far more elaborate than a non-capital murder case. The Capital Defender officers are arms of the state public defender.

    "When you charge capital murder, you put the wheels in motion for a very complicated and expensive process," Milani said.

    Milani said capital murder cases require several features not found in other criminal cases. For example, he said a jury must be death penalty qualified. That means jurors are told of the maximum penalty for conviction before the trial and asked whether they are open to imposing such a punishment.

    In the penalty phase of the trial, assuming a conviction, the prosecution is allowed to tell the jury about previous crimes linked to the defendant, even if they produced no charges or convictions, Milani said.

    The law also guarantees a capital murder defendant will be represented by two attorneys certified by special training and experience to handle death penalty cases, Milani said.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/09/...iller-case.php
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  5. #5
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    Being from Virginia, I pay particular attention to death penalty eligible cases, however, this one got by me. The problem I see here is that Virginia imposes death sentences much less frequently than in the past. I don't think the fact that this is a woman should have any bearing on sentencing if she is convicted, but I believe it will.

    Coincidental that the child that died was the only one of three in the household not related to Miller by blood? I think not.

    I am wondering if there is any information as to whether either of the other two children presented with signs of having been abused?

  6. #6
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    Charge dropped against boy's father

    Shenandoah County prosecutors dropped a child-endangerment charge against a man whose fiance stands accused of murdering his son.

    Authorities had charged Jeremy A. Vermillion with one count of endangerment of a child while in one's custody after his toddler-age son died June 3.

    Nicole Dawn Miller, 26, identified as Vermillion's fiance at the time of child's death, stands charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.

    Prosecutors also blamed Vermillion, the child's biological father and primary custodian, for not helping the toddler before the incident.

    At a hearing in Shenandoah County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Nov. 7, Judge William Sharp Jr. granted a motion by Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Louis Campola seeking to dismiss the charge against Vermillion. However, under the motion the prosecutor can seek to revive the charge. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to ask to dismiss a charge in a lower court only to seek an indictment by a grand jury in the same case.

    Officers with the Woodstock Police Department responded to Vermillion's residence for a report of a toddler not breathing. Officers noticed "several suspicious bruises" on the child's body, according to a criminal complaint filed for an arrest warrant served on Vermillion.

    The child later died at the University of Virginia Medical Center as a result of non-accidental trauma, according to the complaint.

    Investigators interviewed Vermillion after the incident.

    "Vermillion admitted to seeing bruises on the child prior to the incident; however he failed to render necessary medical attention to the child," the complaint states. "Doctors who cared for the child ... said it was impossible for a child of this age to cause such injuries to themself [sic]."

    Miller remains held without bond in the Shenandoah County Jail on the charge of capital murder. The maximum punishment for a conviction of capital murder in Virginia is death.

    Judge Dennis L. Hupp has scheduled Miller's next appearance in the circuit court for Dec. 4. After her indictment this summer, Hupp appointed Harrisonburg attorneys John C. Holloran and William W. Eldridge IV as Miller's defense counsel. At her most recent court appearance Sept. 18, records note that the defense did not request discovery evidence from the commonwealth at that time. Defense did request a tentative trial date for sometime in November 2014.

    Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against the defendant in the case. Wiseley states in the notice that "there is a probability that the Defendant had committed criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing serious threat to society and/or that her conduct in committing the offense for which she stands charged was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind or an aggravated battery to the victim."

    Hupp also has granted a request by the defense for a court-appointed, fact and mitigation investigator in the case. The commonwealth attorney's office did not object to the defense request. The court allowed the defense to hire Doris Pye as its fact-and-mitigation investigator at a rate of $75 per hour, with a cap of $3,500. Counsel would need to come back to the court and ask for more funds should the cost for her services reach the cap, the judge's order states.

    The defense request indicates that Pye has been appointed to serve as such an investigator in 11 capital cases in state and federal jurisdictions. Pye also has aided defense counsel in 22 capital murder cases after an initial conviction.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/11/...urder-case.php
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Member AdamSmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ella View Post
    Being from Virginia, I pay particular attention to death penalty eligible cases, however, this one got by me. The problem I see here is that Virginia imposes death sentences much less frequently than in the past. I don't think the fact that this is a woman should have any bearing on sentencing if she is convicted, but I believe it will.

    Coincidental that the child that died was the only one of three in the household not related to Miller by blood? I think not.

    I am wondering if there is any information as to whether either of the other two children presented with signs of having been abused?
    You are right, it looks like she loved her own two and was annoyed with the third which was her boyfriend's.

    Very sad story. I cannot imagine she did it on purpose though. I have to think this may have been a manslaughter-type crime.

  8. #8
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    Defense seeks to withhold clues about strategy in murder case

    Defense attorneys for accused child murderer Nicole Dawn Miller gave notice Wednesday that they want to withhold information about expert witnesses and documents from the prosecution to prevent giving away their strategy in the case.

    Shenandoah County Judge Dennis L. Hupp set another hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 to hear arguments on the issue from the defense and Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley.

    Miller appeared in the courtroom in a jail jump suit with her attorneys, John C. Halloran and William Eldridge, both of Harrisonburg. They also filed a discovery motion seeking to gain access to documents and other material held by the prosecution that has a bearing on the case.

    Wiseley has filed a notice stating her intent to seek the death penalty against Miller, 26. Miller is accused of killing a 20-month-old child, who was the son of Jeremy Alexander Vermillion, identified as Miller's fianc at the time the child died on June 3 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

    Shenandoah County prosecutors dropped a related charge of child endangerment against Vermillion in early November, although they still have the option of seeking an indictment against Vermillion from a grand jury.

    Halloran told Hupp he is still waiting to receive a report of an autopsy of the victim that was completed days after the child's death in early June.

    "Usually, that's done within two to three months but children take longer," Halloran said of autopsy reports.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2013/12/...urder-case.php
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    Defense, prosecution spar over disclosing witness identities

    Defense attorneys Wednesday continued to place a high priority on preventing the prosecution from learning their legal strategy in the capital murder case of Nicole Dawn Miller.

    Miller was arrested in June and charged with murder in the death of a 20-month-old boy.

    Judge Dennis L. Hupp spent part of the afternoon ruling on several contested motions from Harrisonburg attorneys John C. Halloran and William Eldridge. Two of the motions sought to conceal the identity of witnesses, including paid experts, from the prosecution during trial preparations.

    Hupp ruled that the defense could seek funding to pay for expert witnesses in a closed hearing that would prevent Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley from learning the witnesses' identities.

    Wiseley argued that the defense had to present a specific reason for withholding the identity of the witnesses from her, and Halloran and Eldridge had failed to do so.

    "It's hypothetical. It's conjecture. It's speculation," Wiseley said of the defense attorneys' reasoning.

    Eldridge cited a state law that allows criminal defense attorneys to withhold the identities of their witnesses by communicating with judges in closed hearings.

    "The whole purpose of that statute is to protect us from having to disclose to get funding from the court," Eldridge said.

    Hupp delayed issuing a ruling on another request from Halloran and Eldridge, who want to keep their witness subpoenas under seal and unavailable to the prosecution.

    Hupp scheduled another hearing for 3:30 p.m. Feb. 26, by which time he hopes to be able to set a trial date.

    Hupp said he was puzzled by the amount of time it is taking to receive an autopsy report from the state medical examiner's office. Wiseley and the defense attorneys had no explanation for the long wait.

    The examiner's office received the victim's body in early June when Miller was arrested and charged with murder. The victim had been under her care at a Woodstock apartment she shared with a man authorities identified as her fiance and the father of the child.

    Wiseley has filed a notice stating she intends to seek the death penalty against Miller, 26.

    Miller appeared in court with her attorneys Wednesday and was returned to custody after the hearing.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2014/01/...identities.php
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  10. #10
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    Capital murder trial set for late January

    WOODSTOCK -- The capital murder case of Nicole Dawn Miller was scheduled Wednesday for most of the last weeks in January in Shenandoah County Circuit Court.

    Judge Dennis L. Hupp set the dates for Jan. 20 -- the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- through Jan. 30 after hearing attorneys for the defense and prosecution speak about their expectations for the trial.

    Authorities accuse Miller of killing a 20-month-old child identified in court documents as the son of Jeremy Alexander Vermillion, whom she identified at the time as her fiance. Vermillion was at work at the time of the incident.

    Defense attorney John C. Holloran of Harrisonburg said he was unsure how long it would take to put on Miller's side of the case. Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley predicted it would take several days to hear testimony from six or seven medical experts she planned to call.

    "I would say probably four days at least," Wiseley told Hupp.

    Wiseley said she also planned to hear from witnesses who would testify that Miller's actions were pre-meditated.

    "I'm thinking it's a 11/2- to two-week case," Holloran said, adding he wanted the case scheduled far enough ahead of time to ensure his experts will not get entangled in scheduling conflicts.

    "I was looking to try this case, maybe this year," Hupp said, adding that would agree to a date next year as long as both sides felt it necessary.

    Hupp said he worried about snowstorms delaying the January trial.

    "We can deal with that if we have to," he said.

    Miller appeared in court in a red and white striped jail uniform. She sat next to Holloran and her other attorney, William Eldridge, also of Harrisonburg.

    Wiseley has taken the rare step of seeking the death penalty for a female defendant. If Miller is convicted and sentenced to death, she could become the 41st woman in the United States to be executed in the last 100 years.

    Woodstock police answering a call to Miller's apartment at 135 Valley Vista Drive on the evening of June 3 reported finding a 20-month-old boy not breathing and bruising on his face and body.

    The child's breathing revived as he was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, but he died two days later at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

    A doctor at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital told police the victim's injuries appeared to be the result of physical abuse, according to court documents.

    A police report said Miller told a Woodstock investigator that she believed the boy's injuries came from falling off a bed or from being pushed by her son, who was in the same age range as the victim.

    http://www.nvdaily.com/news/2014/02/...te-january.php

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