Verdict reached in four-year-old murder case

Miller

Ezell R. Miller was found guilty for the 2016 murder of Lauren Alexander. After 3 days and 10 hours on Friday, the jury handed down its decision and recommended life without the possibility of parole.

Alexander, 22, was shot in her residence at 334 W. Hale St. on Feb. 28, 2016. Mayfield Police officers located Alexander inside the residence with a gunshot would and also located Miller at the residence.

Alexander was taken to Jackson Purchase Medical Center then was later transported to Skyline Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, where she was put on life support until her organs could be donated. She later died at the hospital.

Miller was charged with murder (domestic violence), first-degree burglary, tampering with evidence and two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Graves County Commonwealth's Attorney Richie Kemp could not be reached for comment.

Three witnesses who testified Wednesday claimed Alexander was scared of Miller in the weeks leading up to her death. Courtney Saxton, who said she was a friend to both Alexander and Miller, said the relationship between the two was an "… awkward relationship" and that Miller was already in a relationship with someone else at the time, as well.

Another witness, Adrianna Johnson said that in the days leading up to the shooting, Alexander had become fearful of Miller and was trying to get away from him. One of the things Alexander reportedly told Johnson was that Miller was somehow coming into her house without her permission.

Haley Kendall echoed Alexander's fear of Miller. Kendall testified that a few days before Alexander's death that she wanted to move just to get away from Miller. She also re-affirmed that Miller and Alexander were never in a relationship.

Prosecutors played a 911 recording with Kentucky State Police Post 1 dispatcher Katelyn Shultz, and the taped interrogation of Bart Reynolds with Miller. Reynolds is currently with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

In the questioning recording, Miller is asked why he went over to Alexander's house. He could be heard stating he was "being stupid" going over there.

Other witnesses included law enforcement who were on the scene following the shooting, and forensics experts with the Kentucky State Police regarding gunshot residue and blood found on Miller's jeans and shoes.

On Thursday, KSP forensic latent finger print analyst Fred Crane took the stand and testified that no latent fingerprints were lifted from the handgun. However, Crane also testified after viewing pictures of where the gun was found that he would not expect to find prints on the weapon.

He said fingerprints are extremely fragile and very rarely are they ever lifted from a gun. The weapon, found in a crawl space wrapped in a red shirt, was not in an ideal place for preserving prints. High humidity in particular, can also destroy fingerprints.

Forensic pathologist Dr. David Zimmerman performed the autopsy on Alexander in Nashville and confirmed the cause of death was indeed by gunshot. He also testified to the angle of the entry and exit wound, which was at an upward angle. He further stated that the gun was fired at close range, estimating the distance from 1-4 inches away. Miller's attorney Jason J. Pfeil pointed out that detail conflicts with prior police reports that the gun was fired from approximately 16 feet away.

He claimed Miller consistently stated the gun accidentally discharged.

The defense did not call any witnesses, and could not be reached for comment.

Miller's official sentencing is scheduled for April 14, at 9 a.m.