March 24, 2021

James and Linda Miller

James and Linda  Miller

Professor Jim Miller

Linda Miller

 

Prayer vigil on campus

 

                    

Bieber Sketch 

           

POS Winston Corbett

 

SOURCES: 

 

07 Oct 2013, Page A10 - Journal and Courier at Newspapers.com

10 Oct 2011, A1 - The South Bend Tribune at Newspapers.com

11 Oct 2011, A5 - The Herald at Newspapers.com

11 Oct 2011, A3 - The South Bend Tribune at Newspapers.com

15 Oct 2011, Page 6 - The Star Press at Newspapers.com

Jim Miller murder timeline | News | goshennews.com

Suspect arrested in 2011 Goshen murder | Local News | goshennews.com

Opening statements in murder trial for man accused of killing Goshen College professor in 2011 (wndu.com)

Wife at murder trial shares account of attack that injured her and killed professor husband | News | goshennews.com 

Did Cops Catch the Right Murderer in Biology Professor James Miller’s Home Invasion Slaying? (thedailybeast.com) 

Biology professor’s murder suspect found guilty after nine years | The Record (goshen.edu)

Winston Corbett sentenced to 115 years for murder, attempted murder (wndu.com)

Coverage of the trial by day from ABC57 news, multiple:

Day 3 in trail of Winston Corbett who is accused of killing professor James Miller (abc57.com)

 

 

We are starting in the town of Goshen Indiana and the county of Elkhart which is one of the most northern counties that border Michigan. Goshen has about 40 34000 population and it's about 2 hours East of Chicago. Goshen is a host of Goshen College. It's a small school, and has abt 950 students enrolled right now. 

Today we are focusing on a beloved college professor, James Miller, and his wife Linda who lived just about a mile from the college campus.  James got the job at Goshen College in 1980 after he graduated with his Doctorate in Biochemistry from the University in Ohio. For most of his career he focused on teaching upper-level classes to students in medical programs. He was a tough grader and he was loved by all  his students. Passionate about the biology and displayed that excitement in his classes. We are told that James was always available for extra help or anything any of his students needed. April Muro, a former student, tells us, “he was a great professor. He was tough. I mean if you got a c in his class, it was like getting an A in any other class. He just pushed us and you could tell he really wanted us to succeed.” He even allowed students to call him by his first name…. So from here out, we will call him Jim as well. 

No I'm not sure when James and Linda and their three kids moved into the house on Wildwood Court, but they did take part in designing the house, I believe it was one of those pop-up neighborhoods offered to families to customize their homes as they were being built. James and Linda had two daughters Lisa and Leanne, and one son named Robert. By 2011 Lisa had grown up, gotten married and left the home but Leanne and Robert are still in high school and they are both part of the high school marching band and very active in the band. The family is very involved as members of the local Clinton frame Mennonite church and  Linda works in the children's ministry group part of the congregation. 

Coming into October of 2011 Goshen is experiencing a lot of burglaries and attempted burglaries throughout the town. and on October 8th a Glenn Reinford and his wife, who live in the Miller's neighborhood  are woken up in the middle of the night to loud noises outside their window. nothing ends up happening and they go back to sleep. After the millers' invasion husband Glen looked around his property and found a window screen slashed. They reported to police -   thinks the noise was someone on the downspout - like a rain drain from the roof of the house.

The next night in the early morning hours of October 9th that is where our Story begins. This is what happened according to Linda, in her court testimony… 

Leanne and Robert are away for the weekend on a marching band competition trip, so Linda and Jim are the only ones in the house. It is early Sunday morning around 1 a.m., Linda is in the master bathroom getting ready for bed, and James is in the living room finishing some reading. in the bathroom Linda notices the door is creeping open, and thinks it's the family dog popping his head in but it's not. Suddenly she is hit on the head and she doesn't know who it is or what it is but she turns and then all the sudden starts getting stabbed. She starts screaming for Jim as the man stabbing her in the back in the upper body by her back and her shoulders.  Jim rushes to her Aid and pulls the man off of Linda, and the two men struggle out of the bathroom and into the bedroom Linda closes the bathroom door and then here's Jim calling out in pain. So then. Comes out of the bed grabs a lamp to get the man off gym before you know it Linda and this man are in a standoff she will tell us ““We just had eye contact, and we looked at each other for those few seconds when I was trying to figure out what to do with the lamp,” Linda Miller said. “I remember thinking, and I used the word ‘twinkle,’ his eyes kind of sparkled….” She also tells us the attacker smirked at her but never said anything. 

Before anything else happens with Linda and the man, Jim and engages with him again and they and then leave the bedroom, struggling throughout the house. Linda goes back in the bathroom to hide and eventually the house becomes quiet. Then she calls the police. So by about 1:15 a.m. everything is over and the police have arrived but the man has fled the scene Jalisco into the house to file into first and they bring her out of the bathroom and set her down in the living room and talk to her about what happened. They go back outside to talk about what to do next and look around, and they find Jim outside on the ground next to the mailbox by the street. When the ambulance comes to take care of Linda and they bring her out to the bus, they have already covered Jim with a sheet to prevent her from seeing him. she won't find out that he had been killed until after she's been in the hospital. 

Linda's injuries: head and scalp, a fracture in her forehead and a metallic foreign body in the injury,  punctured lung. She is transferred from Goshen hospital to a hospital in nearby south bend because of her life-threatening injuries.. 

The kids had to be picked up by a neighbor, and told of what happened to their parents.

 back at home, When investigators comb the scene they find for specific locations consistent with the struggle between the Intruder and Jim. There are pools of blood in the master bedroom, the master bathroom, the front door for your area and down on the street by the mailbox and they found blood evidence that does not belong to Jim. but evidence of an unknown male was found on the driveway, one on a door handle, and one on the baseboard inside the home.

Intruder and James fight thru the house→ kitchen → attached garage → thru garage→ make it outside… driveway/mailbox at street. Jim is moving and struggling in the driveway before he dies. Police also found a cut window screen in a room in back of the house, footprints in the grass in the backyard leading up to the window, so that's how he got in. 

Autopsy: Dr. Joseph Prahlow medical examiner did autopsy - 50 sharp force injuries. He also suffered fractures to his nose, both cheekbones and his skull due to blunt force trauma,  including being stabbed in the head. 

Linda is released from the hospital within a week or so, but she isn't able to return home for five weeks because that's how long it took cleaners to clean up the house. Linda did say later that she was not going to move out of that house because that was the house that she and Jim essentially designed together and she wasn't going to let fear take that away from her.

Initial Investigation:

Detective Steve Priem is the first detective to work the case - interviews linda at hosp and she described him as “ white male, young, possibly high school, with a “baby face,” clean shaven, slender, dark hair, wearing dark colored hoodie.” A sketch artist comes in and creates what detective cream thinks it's too generic of a sketch, saying he looks like any other young white guy, and he actually looks like Justin Bieber. So why will always take a sketch, they don't always really give us anything that we can work off of unfortunately.

There are tips to come in to the police station but unfortunately they are not anything the police feel are good leads so that we will learn as to what or who it's behind this.  So this seemingly came out of nowhere they find James's wallet still on the counter, there's been no actual burglary, the crime is not sexually motivated as Linda was clearly attacked right away. Why did this happen? And who would have wanted to do this to such a beloved family in town? Unfortunately those question will take many years to be answered.

In the coming days the town reacts to this horrific attack on  the Millers. And a prayer vigil is held at the Clinton frame Mennonite Church. The college also hosts over 400 people that Gather in memory of Professor Jim outside the building that he taught in on the Goshen college campus. 

Lena Franklin, a former student, tells us, “I dare say I may not be where I am today without his help. I know that many many others can say the same of him. James Miller has to be one of the most peaceful people I've had the pleasure of knowing. 

Another student, who Jim lunched with the week before he was killed, “I hope that people will remember him as being a caring man who conducted himself with a sense of integrity and humility.”

In the coming months there are no developments in the case and soon enough we are acknowledging the 5 year anniversary of the attack and the loss of Jim. 2016 the Elkhart County homicide unit was formed. Over all these years Linda is still being shown different photo arrays of possible suspects but she  doesn't recognize any of the men that are put in front of her. But of course she is still ready, willing and able to help in the investigation. The local Crime Stoppers office is also trying to help solve the case and releasing videos and Recaps of the attacks to try to generate new leads.

In April of 2018 the local ABC News Outlet actually did a series of Recaps of the case, but the police department didn't offer any new information about the evidence in order to keep it secure for a possible future trial. The news station also created a website called who killed James Miller?  In the investigative report in April, the prosecutor says that there are still tips coming in but they're not releasing any new information to the public about it.

So this homicide unit  is made up of detectives both With the Elkhart County Sheriff's department and the Goshen Police Department. obviously they solely focus on homicide cases. In 2017 one of the first patrol officers that Responded to the home the night Linda and Jim were attacked is brought into this unit. But he was now a Goshen detective, and this is Nicholas McCloughen.  now he reviews the case File and calls out to Linda to  discuss the case with her and guess what oh, she actually suggest he try genetic genealogy! So McLaughlin gets off the phone w Linda and talks to his team about this new angle, they decide they're going to give Parabon a call. Parabon agrees to take the case in April of 2018, and by October 16th of 2018 Parabon calls and gives detective McCloughen a possible name. 

He immediately dived in to see if this possible suspect could have done it and he found that this man actually did live just a half a mile off a bike path from the Miller home, and hold onto your butts …. they check the Goshen high school yearbook to get a picture of him! That's right, The guy was a student in 2011! So they've got this picture and they show it to Linda, but she's not completely sure she recognizes him. But  Parabon’s report  tell someone not to give up on this suspect, so they surveilled his house and they pull garbage from the curb on October 23rd of 2018 the grab some items from the garbage and they send it off to the lab. The lad tells them that the blood evidence from the crime scene in 2011 is a match to someone that discarded garbage in from that house. so detective Magoffin uses us to get a warrant and they pick up the suspect to swab his cheek and play center of silver lab, and the results for the cheek swab come back on October 28th as a perfect match. Later that same day the homicide unit gets an arrest warrant and arrest the suspect.

Announcement: oct  30, 2018 - Goshen PD announce the arrest of 23yo Winston Corbett for the 2011 murder of James Miller and the attempted murder of Linda Miller 

Who is Winston Corbett??  Who is this piece of shit?

Was 16 at the time, lives in Goshen and went to the same HS as the Millers’ kids. He even had classes with daughter Lauren. At the time his older sister went to Goshen college.

Corbett joined the navy after HS, was discharged in summer of 2018. He planned on beginning college after taking a year off. But little did he know the police were still working on the Miller case and he was about to be arrested.

So what is Corbett say for himself? He denies it. He says I was never there, it wasn't me I wouldn't do this. He pleads not guilty and they  go to trial. The two-week trial doesn't come until this last November 2020,  so at this point he'd been in jail for 2 years.  His lawyer, Peter Britton, tried to suppress the genealogy report from parabon before trial. He  wanted everyone to believe that Parabon naming Corbett as a possible donor of the evidence found in the home should be considered hearsay and did not prove he was actually there that night.  Haha but the judge shot it down. 

Like a rockstar Linda gets up on the sand on the first day of testimony and she specifies for 3 and 1/2 hours taking everyone through her family the days leading up to the invasion, the attack,  her injuries and  recovery and her life since the loss of Jim.  of course all the lab techs testify and all the police detective specify and other people that are important. 

And then lo and behold, POS Corbett besides he's going to take the stand too. 

He says it wasn't me you got the wrong guy, the closest I was ever to that house was maybe I was fundraising on that street one day and high school but I have no idea why my DNA would be in the house The defense that provides no exclamatory evidence and the best that they can argue is that Linda said the attacker wasn't wearing glasses but Corbett wore glasses in high school. Defense also says his name was never part of the investigation until now. So if you haven't been investigating him all this time you're only going off of the DNA and that show that shows no motive or opportunity for why he would do it. I don't understand this line of thinking and this guy is supposed to be smarter than me. We all know that motive is not needed in order to get a conviction, and blood evidence is never going to give you an extra motive I would say a semen sample could for a rape or a Ferrari for a sexual assault, but blood evidence is not a type of evidence that's going to scream a motive and it doesn't have to. Well so much for that, because the jury  comes back with a verdict on November 12th. And he is found guilty!

December 28th. is sentencing day. Linda tells the court: “evil entered our home when he attacked us,” and that “many days she wanted to die because she couldn’t stand the pain.”  Corbett is sentenced to 65 years for James's killing and 50 years for attempting to kill Linda. the murder took place in 2011 and Indiana sentencing laws in place at that time will apply here. It is essentially the day for day good behavior law, Where an inmate can receive one day's credit extra for every good day of behavior while in jail so any sentence is automatically subjected to being cut in half as long as the convicted person behaves won't Chris rated. I don't believe that Indiana has this pain anymore but this says apply to Corbett and his conviction and sentencing. So he may be able to get out and about fifty years and hell be about 76ish by then.  Now I hope that he ends up in front of the parole board…  but  then he dies before They make a Decision.

 So what do we think of this guy? He committed his first murder that we know about when he was 16 years old and according to Linda he was enjoying the attack. Remember she said at trail  said  he smirked at her? yeesh . do we think he  committed any other assaults or murders since 2011? We know he was in the Navy for 4 years, and I think I read somewhere that he was on four separate ships. And then in 2018  he's discharged, home and he wants to take some time off before starting for your college. I think it's definitely has it in him to do this again if he wasn't caught. And he hadn't been caught,  right, for 7 years? aside from searching thru that blood’s family tree, how else were they going to be able to find  him for this?  I think he was young enough  but he never would have been on anybody's radar until he attacked another family after he came back from the Navy. This guy is sadistic and he definitely would have done it again If he thought he could get away with it still. The only thing that would have stopped him is if he knew about friends of genealogy. But we may never know because within just a few months of being home, he was arrested. But starting at such an early age,  and then getting trained by the military…  I can only imagine what he kind of fantasies he had of getting away with what he did to jim and linda over and over for the rest of his life. But, thank God now its only  Something we may not something we have to worry about. At least for the next 50 years.

Linda’s closing tribute:

Goshen College was Jim’s world in so many ways,” Linda Miller said. “He loved academics, loved teaching and loved the students…. The trial in itself is traumatic,”, “You have to live through everything again.” but “If there is one thing that I would want the world to know about this journey, it is that God has been faithful and has given us the strength that we have needed to not only survive but also to thrive through some incredibly tough days and years.”

 And that is the case of the murder of James Miller and the attempted murder of his wife Janet Miller in 2011.