VINTON — A Benton County jury didn’t reach a verdict Tuesday in the David Miller murder trial and is to resume deliberations on Wednesday.
The jury got the case at the end of the day Monday, following four days of testimony.
Miller, 32, charged with first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree theft, is accused of strangling and stabbing his girlfriend Sabrina Hustad Janish, 25, at his home and then stealing two trucks in his attempt to escape on Oct. 25, 2015.
Benton County Attorney David Thompson in his closing argument Monday said there is no mistake that a struggle and attack took place in the living room area of Miller’s mobile home at 3257 59th Street Trail, north of Shellsburg. Furniture was knocked over and there also was a large amount of blood in center of the sofa, where the stabbing likely started and then continued on the floor, where a knife was found in a pool of blood underneath a large pillow, Thompson said.
The blood in the living room was Janish’s and her blood was found on Miller’s clothing and boots, Thompson said. Janish’s body was found face down by the front steps of the mobile home and there was blood spatter from Miller and Janish on a van and truck parked near those steps, he added.
A medical examiner said Janish was stabbed multiple times in the face, neck and torso, and two of the stab wounds were so deep they severed the esophagus and trachea, Thompson pointed out.
Aaron Hawbaker, Miller’s lawyer, argued evidence isn’t “guesses or assumptions” and the theories or conclusions the state lays out for them should give them “pause” because it’s not proof beyond reasonable doubt.
Hawbaker said the state can’t say when Janish died and there’s no evidence or motive to explain the killing.
If convicted, Miller faces a mandatory life sentence.