MILLER PRELIM: Murder Suspect Can Stand Trial, Judge Rules, Despite the Fact That No Body Has Been Found | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County News

Even though Kiera Lynn Foley’s body has not been found, Judge Kaleb Cockrum ruled today there is sufficient evidence for Jason Michael Miller to stand trial on a charge of murder.

Cockrum declined to hold Miller to answer on the special allegation of personally and negligently discharging a firearm, a charge that can add as much as a life sentence if a defendant is convicted of murder. The judge said there is not enough evidence — apart from witness statements about what Miller told them— that Foley was shot to death.


Defense attorney Andrea Sullivan, in arguments after testimony in Miller’s preliminary hearing ended today, said it’s possible for someone to be convicted of murder without a body, “but you have to have evidence” the person is actually dead.

“If Ms. Foley is indeed dead,” Sullivan argued, “it’s unlikely she was killed at the Laguna Inn.”

Eureka police Officer Timothy Marsolan testified today that two senior detectives and three evidence technicians searched Miller’s room at the inn. They found no physical evidence other than some blood droplets.

“Nothing substantial,” Marsolan said under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Jessica Watson.

Sullivan pointed out there are hundreds of people missing in Humboldt County, and Foley was a transient who had disappeared before.

“I simply don’t believe any persuasive evidence has been shown that Ms. Foley is dead,” she said. Sullivan said witness Crystal Gonzales was not credible when she said she saw Foley’s body in the bathtub in Miller’s room and watched Miller drown Foley’s dog in the toilet.

Gonzales “was actually falling asleep while she was testifying,” Sullivan said.

Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees said Gonzales was tired because she didn’t sleep the previous night, worrying about testifying against a man who traumatized her. Gonzalez said Miller put a gun to her head and forced her into the bathroom to view the decomposing body, with Foley’s terrified little dog sitting on top of it.

Two women testified Miller told them he killed Foley and chopped up her body because he believed she was going to rob him. He confessed to his girlfriend Rose Cooper, and he also told Phyllicia Korn, a fellow tenant at Laguna Inn. Korn said Miller offered to show her the body, and she declined.

MILLER PRELIM: Murder Suspect Can Stand Trial, Judge Rules, Despite the Fact That No Body Has Been Found | Lost Coast Outpost | Humboldt County News

According to a man named Gregory Shelton, who went to police in July, Miller said he shot Foley at a beach while he was experiencing a drug-induced manic episode. Miller told Shelton he quickly disposed of both the body and the gun.

“The defendant has admitted to three different people that he killed Ms. Foley,” Rees argued. “Each one said he shot her, which is the basis of the special allegation.”

Rees said it’s true the prosecution needs more evidence than witness statements, and they have it in the form of Gonzales’s testimony about seeing the body. As to whether Foley is actually dead, no-one has seen or heard from her since April of 2021.

Officer Marsolan testified that includes Foley’s three children, one who lives in Virginia with a family member and two who are with their father in Southern Humboldt. Marsolan said Foley “was always very consistent” in keeping in contact with her children.

One friend of Foley’s told the officer she and Foley had spent their August birthdays together for 30 years, “until last year.”

Cockrum, in making his ruling, said Gonzales was obviously under the influence when she was testifying, but he believed what she said about being forced to smell and see the body.

“I do find her to be credible,” the judge said.

Korn testified today that “half a day” before Miller told her about the killing, she saw Miller and Foley together. She recalled Foley was wearing shorts and a tank top and did not seem to be in any distress.

Korn and Cooper had both known Foley for a number of years. Cooper testified Foley, like her, worked as a prostitute. But Korn and Gonzalez did not believe she was.

Korn, also a prostitute, said Foley supported herself by stealing.

“Stealing what?” she was asked.

“Drugs and money.”

Miller’s arraignment is scheduled for March 22.