As Eric Millerberg's homicide case heads to trial, defense focuses on wife

Published: Tuesday, May 15 2012 3:26 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — Defense attorneys for a man charged with killing a 16-year-old North Ogden teenager are looking to impeach the man's wife in advance of his trial.

Eric Millerberg, 36, is facing child abuse homicide and other charges in the death of Alexis Rasmussen. His wife, Dea Millerberg, is facing a charge of abuse or desecration of a human body.

Dea Millerberg, 39, was a crucial witness at a preliminary hearing last month, testifying that it was Eric Millerberg who injected heroin and methamphetamine into Alexis' veins the night she died. But Eric Millerberg's attorney, Randall Marshall, doesn't believe the woman is a credible witness.

"We need to do some research on Dea Millerberg's background," Marshall said Tuesday. "She's their key witness and she's impeachable. … She has motive to lie."

Prosecutors have called Dea Millerberg's involvement "minimal" compared to her husband's role. She filed for divorce from her husband on Feb. 9.

Marshall also said he wants an expert to review the toxicology reports and take a closer look at Alexis' cause of death, which was classified as "undetermined" by the state medical examiner.

Dea Millerberg testified that the couple met Alexis through a girl in their neighborhood and used her as a babysitter for their two children. Eventually, though, she said the relationship turned social and the teenager would often come over to smoke and drink.

According to Dea Millerberg, Alexis began asking for methamphetamine and Eric Millerberg injected the teenager. The night of Sept. 10, the couple asked Alexis over to baby-sit, but instead they "hung out" and used heroin and methamphetamine.

The girl later became unresponsive and died. The couple took her to a remote area in Morgan County, where her body was found Oct. 18.

Eric Millerberg is currently in prison. He was sentenced to zero to five years for a separate drug-related probation violation in October.

Marshall said prosecutors have made offers in terms of a plea agreement, but they are "not offers we think are acceptable." Currently, the case is headed for trial.

In addition to first-degree felony child abuse homicide, Eric Millerberg is also charged with obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and unlawful sexual activity with a minor and abuse or desecration of a human body, both third-degree felonies.

Dea Millerberg also faces criminal charges from unrelated cases, including two counts of falsely obtaining or dispensing of a prescription, a third-degree felony, and endangerment of a child or a vulnerable adult, a third-degree felony.

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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