The jury began deliberations Friday in the capital murder case of a 37-year-old man accused of hacking up a body in a Strip hotel.
Prosecutors believe Scott Dozier lured an up-and-coming newbie in the Phoenix drug dealing world to Las Vegas on April 18, 2002, to murder and rob him of $12,000 in drug money.
The waist and torso of the victim, 22-year-old Jeremiah Miller, were found in a suitcase dumped in a trash bin of a West Flamingo Road apartment complex on April 25, 2002.
The Metropolitan Police Department was never able to find the head and remaining appendages, but was able to identify Miller by tattoos.
According to court documents, Miller had come from Phoenix to Las Vegas, his second trip that week, in search of pills to make methamphetamine. Dozier was to help him find a connection to purchase the pills.
They stayed at the La Concha Hotel, where Dozier frequently did maintenance work.
According to prosecutors, Dozier was the last person to have see Miller alive. He became their chief suspect after police interviewed his friends in the ensuing years.
One friend said he saw a body holding a head in the bathtub of Dozier’s room at the La Concha. Another said Dozier told him he shot Miller in the head. A third witness said she visited Dozier during his Las Vegas stay and he had a body in a suitcase in a hotel room.
But defense attorneys have tried to convince the jury that the man who lent the $12,000 to Miller, an elderly Phoenix drug mogul known only as Darryl or “Grandpa,” had more motive to kill Miller.
They described Miller as a drug dealer who had begun to use his own product, had been cut off by his drug source and owed money to shady sources.
They emphasized Las Vegas police never found any blood at the La Concha, which has since been torn down, during the investigation.
“When Jeremiah was alive his body contained six liters of blood,” said Deputy Special Public Defender Clark Patrick. “At autopsy there was nothing left. That’s eight wine bottles full of blood. That’s 17 cans of soda full of blood. Where is it?”
Prosecutor Sam Bateman said the witnesses all described Dozier on different floors and rooms of the hotel, indicating he moved around.
“To separate the head, the arms and the legs and to dump them in different areas, wouldn’t that same person put the same care and attention into cleaning?” Bateman said, adding that one witness said Dozier gave her trash bags and OxiClean, a stain remover, before he left Las Vegas on April 24.
If the jury finds him guilty of first-degree murder, Dozier, who has already been convicted of a murder in Arizona, could face the death sentence.