MISSOULA - A Missoula man says he's not guilty in the death of his mother who was found dead over the weekend in a South Avenue home.
Miles Otis Miller, 21, pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence Tuesday in Missoula District Court. The judge set his bond at $2 million.
Charging documents state that Miles Miller called 911 on Saturday afternoon and reported that his mother – 68-year-old Taeko (Teri) Miller -- was unconscious and covered in blood on the floor at the bottom of the basement stairs and was not breathing.
Missoula firefighters arrived first on the scene and told police officers that a woman was deceased and to call a coroner.
A Missoula police officer observed a large amount of blood surrounding Taeko Miller’s body and also saw a bucket near the body with white vinegar cleaning supplies in it and an unused mop next to the body.
Miles Miller told police he had just woken up from a nap and that he had been sleeping all morning. Miller said he sleeps with headphones and a fan and is hard of hearing. He also said he last saw his mother at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12, 2023.
During questioning, police noticed he had scratches on his hands which were slightly red and swollen. Miles Miller told police he had a skin condition, and his hands would crack and bleed.
A Missoula Police detective who arrived at the South Avenue home observed the blood spatter around the victim and believed it was caused by some forceful action, according to court documents.
Miles Miller was then taken to the Missoula Police Department for a further interview.
He told investigators that he had seen his mother the night before and stayed at the home overnight, waking up at about 8 a.m. and then going back to sleep until about noon. Miles Miller said he found his mother shortly after that time.
The detective told Miles Miller the death was now being investigated as a homicide. Miller said he didn't want to say anything that would contradict what he had said previously, then asked for a lawyer and the questioning ended.
Missoula Police detectives obtained a search warrant and found a small ivory-handled knife with a serrated edge inside the dishwasher. Additionally, at the top of the stairs where Taeko was found, there were socks turned inside out, signifying they had been taken off.
A bathmat that appeared to be new was found in the victim's bathroom. Two large garbage bags were also found in the bedroom closets. The bags contained a bathmat and sandals with blood on them. Additionally, pieces of mail with writing on the back of a letter that stated, "Mom is trying to destroy us" were also discovered in the bags.
Detectives also found a piece of carpet with potential blood stains. The section of the carpet appeared to match an area of carpet cut from near where Taeko's body was found.
The medical examiner found approximately 30 stab wounds from a sharp object on Taeko Miller‘s body. Her throat had also been cut and multiple cuts on her fingers and both hands were found.
Following a more thorough search of the garbage bags the following day, detectives found a pair of sweatpants and a T-Shirt with blood stains and suspected human tissue on them.
There were also multiple pieces of paper in which handwritten notes were found with statements including "Alibi: break-in next door" and "She has too much power", "no regrets, no remorse", "dissociate. But don't answer questions with specifics," "Ask what happened. Act dumb. Act sad," and "See it as a game!"