OGDEN — The case of a North Ogden man accused of killing his 16-year-old babysitter and disposing of her body inched closer to trial Tuesday.
With prosecutors anxious for a trial date, attorneys for Eric Millerberg, 36, asked for time to file a motion requesting funds from Weber County to pay for an expert witness. Second District Judge Scott Hadley said he would rather wait until attorneys had a better idea of how long the trial would last before setting a date.
Millerberg was ordered to stand trial in April on charges of child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony; obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; unlawful sexual activity with a minor and abuse or desecration of a human body, both third-degree felonies, in connection with the death of Alexis Rasmussen.
Eric Millerberg's wife, Dea Millerberg, is facing a single charge of desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony. She was a key witness against her husband at the man's preliminary hearing and testified that it was he who injected heroin and methamphetamine into Alexis' veins the night she died.
She said the couple used Alexis as a babysitter for their two children before the relationship turned social and the teenager started coming over to smoke and drink.
According to Dea Millerberg, Alexis began asking for methamphetamine and Eric Millerberg injected the girl. 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's attorney, Randall Marshall, said Tuesday that there are still things he needs to know about the case before he can take it to trial.
"There are a lot of questions about how the death occurred and we want an expert ... that can satisfactorily explain to a jury, and to me, how Lexi died so we can adequately prepare our defense," Marshall said.
An autopsy revealed there was both morphine, most likely from the use of heroin, and methamphetamine in Alexis' system, but her cause and manner of death were undetermined. Still, there are other factors in the case Marshall wants to explore.
"The science is important, but it's not the entire case," Marshall said. "The state's case hinges on Dea's testimony and she certainly has motive to lie, motive to protect herself. ... This is not a slam dunk case for the state."
Marshall said there are no plans for a plea agreement at this point.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company