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|Born||Sharee Paulette Kitley Miller
October 13, 1971
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
|Criminal charge||Second Degree Murder and conspiracy to commit murder|
|Criminal penalty||Life in prison|
3. Bruce Miller (1999-1999; his death)
|Children||2 sons and 1 daughter - and 1 grandchild|
Sharee Paulette Kitley Miller (born October 13, 1971) is an American woman accused of plotting the murder of her husband, Bruce Miller, over the Internet with her online lover Jerry Cassaday, who would later commit suicide. Miller was convicted for her part of the crime, but her conviction was overturned and she was free on bond while awaiting a new trial. She was living in the Greater Detroit metro area. In 2012, Miller was re-incarcerated.
Murder, trial and incarceration
Bruce Miller was found dead at his junkyard in Flint, Michigan on November 8, 1999, killed by a .20 gauge shotgun.
After Sharee was arrested in February 2000, she was held without bail until her trial. On December 12, 2000, the State of Michigan v. Sharee Miller trial began and her case made national headlines. According to the prosecution, Sharee wanted Bruce dead for his money and that a divorce would not have given her enough. After two days of deliberation, on December 22 the jury found Sharee Miller guilty on all charges. On Jan. 29, 2001, the Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Judith Fullerton sentenced Miller to life in prison for the conspiracy to commit murder charge, and 54 to 81 years for second-degree murder. She was serving her term at the Robert Scott Correctional Facility in Plymouth, Michigan and then the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Sharee still maintains her innocence and has filed an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Her mother currently has custody of one of her three children.
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She credited mental health staff at the prison. In 2007 while in prison she was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. She also claimed that she wanted to give back to the people she had selfishly taken from.
In August 2008, a federal court judge overturned her conviction and ordered that she receive a new trial. The judge found that the suicide note from Cassaday should have never been admitted into court and seen by the jurors because Cassaday was dead and could not be cross examined.
On July 16, 2009, a federal court judge ordered Sharee Miller's immediate release from prison on bond pending the new trial which was ordered in August 2008. In response, on July 17, 2009, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton ordered that Miller immediately be re-arrested from prison where she was taken to the Genesee County Jail and held without bond to await new charges. Sharee Miller was arraigned on July 22, 2009 again on charges of second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated first-degree murder. The new trial was scheduled to begin on October 20, 2009. Miller's attorneys appealed this action. The retrial was put on hold pending the federal appeal.
On July 29, 2009, Sharee Miller was released from the Genesee County Jail on a $100,000 recognizance bond until her new trial began.
In December 2009, Sharee Miller was found using the popular social networking site Facebook. Miller’s lawyer, David Nickola, said that there was no reason for his client to be barred from using a computer, but Sharee's Facebook page was temporarily deactivated when it attracted publicity. “I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about it,” Nickola said. He states that Sharee used Facebook to keep in touch with her family members and her son who is overseas in the military. “She’s an innocent person out in society and she’s doing positive things,” Nickola said, “Having a Facebook page to communicate with her son who is serving in the military overseas is nothing inappropriate whatsoever.” While having a Facebook page is not a violation of Miller’s bond, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said this is a perfect example of why people need to be careful when they’re online. “People have to be careful when they’re communicating with others who they don’t know on the Internet,” Leyton said.
On June 21, 2010, by a 2-1 margin, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the August 2008 federal ruling that the Cassaday suicide note was not admissible.
On Nov. 14, 2011 the US Supreme Court remanded the Sharee Miller case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals for further consideration in light of Green v Fisher, 565 US, 132 S Ct at 573. On February 16, 2012 the Sixth Circuit remanded the case to the District Court, Roberts, J., “for further consideration in light of Green and Ohio v Roberts, 448 US 56 (1980) and “any other relevant matter.”, leaving the question of supplemental briefing to the District Court. (Op. pp 10, 11) The parties agreed that Ohio v Roberts and not Crawford v Washington controlled the issue of the admissibility of the suicide note of Jerry Cassaday which implicated Sharee in the murder of her husband Bruce Miller.
On Aug. 2, 2012 the District Court entered its opinion and ordered reinstatement of Miller’s convictions and revoked her bond. Miller has been returned to the Michigan Department of Corrections [MDOC] to continue serving her sentences. The District Court held that it was error for it and the Sixth Circuit to address Miller’s claim under Crawford v Washington. Crawford was decided March 8, 2004, or eight months after the Michigan Court Appeals affirmed Miller’s convictions, but before the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Miller’s request for leave to appeal. The District Court went on to hold that the Michigan Court of Appeals decision did not involve an unreasonable application of Ohio v Roberts. (Op. p 20) The Court also held that the Michigan Court of Appeals did not apply a rule that was “contrary to” Supreme Court precedent when it held that Jerry Cassaday’s suicide note was admissible. (Op. p 20) The Court further explained that the suicide note “possessed sufficient guarantees of trustworthiness” to satisfy defendant’s constitutional right of confrontation. Further, the Michigan Court of Appeals’ factual determination, that the statements were spontaneous, voluntary, made to Cassaday’s parents and less likely to be fabricated because he was about to kill himself, were reasonable findings. The Court also determined that reliance on these facts to uphold the admission of the suicide note is supported by Supreme Court precedent. The District Court also found that the Michigan Court of Appeals decision did not involve an unreasonable application of Ohio v Roberts. (Op. p. 23) On February 11, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion, affirmed the federal district court's reinstatement of Miller's convictions and sentences. Miller v Stovall, 742 F3d 642 (2014).
In popular culture
| Dateline NBC - "Instant Message Murder"
original air date: March 2010
| Snapped Oxygen - "Sharee Miller"
original air date: March 2005
| Forensic Files - "Web of Seduction"
original air date: 8 March 2006
The trial made national headlines; Miller’s life was profiled on A&E American Justice, Investigation Discovery's Deadly Women and on the Oxygen Channel's true crime series Snapped. The case was the subject of a book, Fatal Error, by Kansas City Star reporter Mark Morris and Paul Janczewski. A television movie produced by Lifetime Television called Fatal Desire starring Eric Roberts and Anne Heche was also based on the Sharee Miller case. And there was a Forensic Files episode about this case (Web of Seduction, season 8, episode 34).
- “Mich. v. Miller: Sex, lies and murder” CourtTV
- "Sharee Miller, in prison in the death of her husband, to marry again -- behind bars" mlive.com[dead link]
- "Convicted killer Sharee Miller back on Facebook" mlive.com
- Miller, Sharee (21 March 2016). "Sharee Miller murder confession". Scribd. mlive.com. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
- "Fatal Error", ISBN 0-7860-1524-1