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Parents of victim testified at Dozier’s murder trial in Las Vegas

Updated June 10, 2020 - 11:04 pm

After her son was murdered, there were days when all Kimarie Miller could hear was her own heart beating in her head. Everything else around felt fuzzy, she said, and that’s how she knew she was alive.

Kimarie Miller and her husband, David, testified in September 2007 at the trial of Scott Dozier, the man convicted of murdering and dismembering their son, 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller, five years earlier at La Concha Motel in Las Vegas.

After their son went missing, his torso was found in a suitcase that had been dumped in a trash bin. His hands, feet and head were never recovered.

“We had found him, and he’d been thrown out like garbage,” the mother said. “We didn’t even have all of him anymore, and that’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

During her testimony, Kimarie Miller described her son as the older of her two children, a boy and a girl.

He studied at Glendale Community College in Arizona and Arizona State University, where he wanted to pursue a career in elementary education. He was fluent in Spanish, had helped build homes for Habitat for Humanity and hoped to help underprivileged kids.

His family had no knowledge he was involved with drugs, she said.

When they found out he was missing, the family hired private investigators and passed fliers around everywhere from Las Vegas to Kingman, Arizona. They called Dozier at his room at La Concha. A man on the other end said their son wasn’t there, he’d gone off with some girl, and he hadn’t seen him since.

“My son is not alive and not able to hug, to laugh, to get patted on the back, to drink water, to eat mints, to see his family, to make decisions for himself, to change his life course, to do anything,” Kimarie Miller testified. “But I miss him. He’s not — he wasn’t like a fly that you swat because it’s an annoyance, and then you never think about him again. He was a part of our lives.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Giancarlo Pesci, who prosecuted Dozier, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Miller’s parents attended every day of Dozier’s first murder trial in Arizona before he was tried for their son’s killing in Las Vegas.

“They were very much involved from the very beginning,” Pesci said. “They were a very, very tight-knit, close family, and they were extremely interested and concerned with the outcome of the case.”

Through the prosecutor, Miller’s family declined to speak with the Review-Journal. The family is not expected to attend Dozier’s execution, scheduled for Wednesday night in Ely.

Dozier has never offered authorities information about the rest of the victim’s body, which Jeremiah Miller’s family had hoped to recover, according to the prosecutor.

“They were always concerned and hoped to be able to find the remains of their son,” Pesci said. “But unfortunately, notwithstanding efforts by the police, the remainder of his body was never found.”

Jeremiah Miller’s father, David, told jurors that his son was a person who loved the outdoors and enjoyed playing basketball and football. He was the jokester in the family.

“He was very naive in the ways of the world,” the father said.

On the evening when he learned his son had died, David Miller testified, a man who identified himself as Scott was on the other line. It was the same voice from La Concha.

“He told me that I hope you find your son because I have a son, and I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to my son,” David Miller said.

He ended his testimony with a description to jurors about life for the family since the murder.

“Even though you move forward, I ask myself why did my son have to die, why did he have to be dismembered, why did he have to be murdered, and I ask myself every day where is the rest of my boy.”

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer David Ferrara contributed to this report.

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