Eric Millerberg injected 16-year-old Alexis Rasmussen, then put her in garbage bag, prosecutor says
Homicide trial begins in death of North Ogden baby-sitter
OGDEN — The mother of 16-year-old Alexis Rasmussen wept Wednesday while prosecutors described a frightening tale of her daughter's death involving drugs, sex, and calloused efforts to dump her body and lie about her whereabouts.
Other relatives of the teen tried to comfort the mother while failing to hold back their own tears.
"He put her in a garbage bag," deputy Weber County attorney Chris Shaw told the jury, pointing at Eric Millerberg on the first day of his trial for child abuse homicide. "She died in his home after he injected her with heroin and methamphetamine. That's what the evidence will show."
"(Millerberg) did nothing to try to save this young girl," Shaw said. "He did not call 911, he did not try to involve police or call an ambulance. He did not take her to the hospital. He did nothing."
Millerberg injected Alexis with "potentially lethal" doses of drugs while she was supposedly baby-sitting at the Millerbergs' home on Sept. 10, 2011, he said.
"There was no baby-sitting going on here at all," Shaw said, suggesting that Millerberg had provided drugs to Alexis.
One of Alexis' best friends, Brenna Cain, testified Wednesday that she and Alexis often secretly got drugs, alcohol and even sex from Eric and Dea Millerberg, her neighbors in North Ogden. She said they would "hang out at their house" and sometimes get a hotel room "and hang out as friends."
Brenna said she wasn't with Alexis the weekend she went missing, which was "unusual."
"When she hadn't contacted me, I knew something was wrong," Brenna said. "I didn't know where she was."
When she confronted Eric Millerberg about her friend, he denied knowing where she was. "He told me he would never do anything to hurt us."
In addition to child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, Eric Millerberg, 38, is charged with obstruction of justice, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and abuse and desecration of a human body. His trial is expected to last six days.
A separate trial for wife Dea Millerberg, 40, who is also charged in the abuse and desecration of Alexis' body as well as with child endangerment, is set to begin in April. She received immunity from the state for testifying against her husband Wednesday, meaning what she said under oath in one courtroom can't be used against her in her own trial.
Dea Millerberg admitted to lying to police and anyone who asked about Alexis up until she bailed out of jail, where she was serving time for unrelated prescription fraud charges. She said she was "terrified" of her husband, who she said was very controlling. She told the court she first spoke truthfully to police on Dec. 30, 2011.
"It was time and I really didn't want her family to keep going through this and not know where she was," Dea Millerberg testified.
She said she gave illicit drugs — including prescription opiates, heroin, Xanax and methamphetamine — to Alexis and to Brenna, and that she and her husband had engaged in sexual conduct with Alexis, including on the night of the teen's disappearance.
Millerberg recounted what she could remember of that night. She said that instead of leaving the house to buy a birthday present for her daughter, Eric Millerberg prepared drugs for injection for the three of them, helping Alexis "get high." The trio had injected methamphetamine and heroin, and had smoked marijuana and drank alcohol.
- Police reviewing possible nightclub photos of...
- Son of murdered woman felt peace in '91, now...
- Missionary, police testify against man...
- Circleville farmers scratching their heads...
- Man charged with killing baby in Ogden told...
- Apparent lightning strike hits Duchesne...
- Woman who drank toxic tea credits God, family...
- Solar energy users claim victory as 'sun tax'...
- New poll shows many Utahns oppose and... 49
- Court allows Utah more time to file gay... 46
- Attorney general deciding whether to... 40
- Running again? Mitt Romney tells Hugh... 36
- Newborn found in trash can brings call... 34
- Audit reveals major concerns about UTA... 30
- Woman accused of leaving young son... 22
- Parents say daughter didn't understand... 22