Two-time killer Scott Dozier was given the death penalty Wednesday, concluding a four-week trial in District Court for the murder and mutilation of an Arizona man in a Strip hotel.
Dozier was convicted Sept. 25 of killing 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller at the LaConcha Hotel and robbing him of $12,000 Miller had brought from Phoenix to Las Vegas to purchase materials to make methamphetamine.
"Scott Dozier has crossed a line in society. He went too far, to the point of no return," prosecutor Giancarlo Pesci said during closing arguments.
Miller’s parents have listened during the last month as attorneys and witnesses described their son as an ambitious drug dealer who sought to apprentice as a meth maker. They said that was not the son they knew.
"He was very naive to the ways of the world," his father, David Miller, said in court.
He helped his dad in the family landscaping business. He was involved in Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit that builds homes for the poor, and he wanted to be a teacher, he said.
Jeremiah Miller went missing in 2002. David Miller said he received a call from Las Vegas detectives who had an unidentified body. He told police of unique identifying marks and tattoos and asked if it was his son.
"There was this long pause on the telephone and then he (the detective) told me they did not have my son’s head or arms."
The rest of his body has never been found.
Defense attorneys Alzora Jackson and Clark Patrick had argued during trial that an unidentified drug dealer who loaned Miller the $12,000 was the more likely killer.
Jackson and Patrick put a psychologist on the witness stand Tuesday who testified Dozier was sexually abused by a teenage neighbor as a child and suffers from an anti-social personality disorder with narcissistic traits. He can be housed safely in a structured prison system for the rest of his life, the psychologist said.
The jury also had the option to sentence him to life with or without the possibility of parole.
Jackson and Patrick had tried to save Dozier outside the courtroom in negotiations with prosecutors following the conviction. They questioned why District Attorney David Roger rejected a potential deal in which Dozier would plead guilty to first-degree murder, accept a sentence of life without the possibility of parole, give up his appellate rights and tell the Miller family what happened to their son.
That deal would have saved the victim’s family the pain of enduring a penalty hearing and taxpayers millions as Dozier appeals, Jackson said.
Roger said he would not accept the offer because the death penalty review committee had approved execution for this case and no circumstances had changed.
Dozier had killed before. He was convicted in 2005 in Arizona of second-degree murder and is serving a 22-year-sentence in that case.
"This individual killed two people and he deserved the ultimate punishment," Roger said.
The Millers said they wanted the jury to finish the criminal process.
"It’s my opinion he’ll live longer on death row than in the general population (of prison). But we feel safer now that he has more monitoring," said Kimarie Miller, Jeremiah’s mother.