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Casper man charged with killing wife

2013-03-27T22:00:00Z 2014-02-21T17:55:08Z Casper man charged with killing wifeBy MEGAN CASSIDY Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Natalie Miller was the first to notify police of her death.

Shortly before midnight Wednesday, before the flurry of neighbors’ phone calls came in reporting gunshots and screaming in the 2500 block of DeSmet Drive in west Casper, a 911 operator spoke with Miller.

The 34-year-old woman told the dispatcher her husband was going to kill her, according to a police affidavit. Specifically, he was going to shoot her.

Natalie and her husband Thomas Miller, 46, had been arguing about money, a female witness in the house later told police. She said Natalie had attempted to end the argument and go to bed, to which Thomas responded, “Fine, go ahead.”

He then retreated to a room where he kept his firearms, the witness said. She heard Natalie ask, “What are you doing?” before seeing her attempt to flee. Natalie was still in the house when she called police.

Natalie soon ran to the next-door neighbor’s house, but her husband was close behind.

“Thomas Lee Miller apparently shot Natalie multiple times while she was attempting to gain assistance at the neighbor’s house,” the affidavit states.

The witness said she went to the Millers’ door, where she was approached by Thomas, holding a gun in his hands.

“You’re next,” he told her, according to the affidavit. “You’d better start running.”

***

A neighbor across the street who wished to remain anonymous said she and her boyfriend woke up when they heard gunfire.

“We went outside and a lady was screaming about her daughter,” she said. “She just kept saying, ‘Oh my god, my daughter, oh my god, my daughter,’ over and over and over.”

The neighbor said by the time she saw what was happening, the adult victim and the other woman presumed to be her mother were at the next-door neighbor’s house.

“We got out there as the [male next-door neighbor] was coming out to flag the cop down,” the witness said.

She heard him tell the first responding officer, “’I’m the neighbor. They came here for help.’”

The witness said she believed the shots came from victim’s home and not the next-door neighbor’s house.

“The neighbor dragged the body to the front porch and said [to the officer], ‘Save her, save her,” the witness recalled. The officer then pulled her to the side lawn and began performing CPR.

“He was working on her the whole time, even after the ambulance got there,” she said. “He never broke stride. He just wouldn’t give up.” The witness said the first responding officer must have been working on the woman for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, police began searching the neighborhood with flashlights, she said. They yelled for the suspect to come out, and he eventually did with his hands in the air.

The witness said the police took the man down and she lost sight of him behind the parked cars.

“Then all the cops went into the house,” she said.

Shirley Brown, whose yard abuts the suspect’s and victim’s home, said the two always seemed “very nice and quiet.”

“They had a little boy and a little girl,” she said. “I hope they’re OK.”

***

Natalie Miller worked as a CT technologist in the radiology department at the Wyoming Medical Center. She had been there for a decade, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operations Officer Julie Cann-Taylor said.

Miller’s children frequented the hospital’s day care center.

Although Cann-Taylor said she didn’t know Miller as well as some of the other employees, the mother of two was a friend to everyone she crossed paths with.

"She was always bubbly, bright and positive,” Cann-Taylor said. “She said hi to everybody in the hall — we all knew her.

“She was definitely a part of the Wyoming Medical Center family.”

Chief Executive Officer Vickie Diamond said the hospital secured grief counselors and pastors to help the staff members through this tragic time.

“Natalie was an outstanding radiation technologist,” Diamond said. “People are devastated, because that department was very close.”

Representatives from Flint Energy, where Thomas Miller was employed, declined to comment.

***

Thomas Miller’s eyes were fixed on the ground Wednesday afternoon as he sat among the four or five other men in matching orange jumpsuits.

Miller briefly glanced up when Natrona County Circuit Judge Michael Huber announced his name in a roll call for a series of initial appearances.

The defendant’s voice was barely audible when he answered Huber’s procedural questions. The judge directed him to speak up on several occasions.

“Are you married?” Huber asked as one of the standard questions. “Yes, sir,” Miller responded after a brief pause. He looked back down.

Thomas Miller was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and two counts of child endangerment. According to the affidavit, the couple’s children, ages 6 and 2, were in the house at the time of the argument. They appeared to have been “aware of said act,” the document states.

Miller said he had no attorney but spoke with Public Defender Robert Oldham shortly before his hearing concluded.

The state asked for a $1 million bond. Huber instead ordered the defendant held without bond.

When Huber asked Miller if he had anything to say, the defendant softly uttered, “I’m … um … sorry.”

Miller will receive a preliminary hearing within 10 days to determine if the case will be heard in District Court.

***

Only Wednesday’s charges appeared on a Natrona County background check for Thomas Miller. Miller told the judge that he was born in Spokane, Wash., but has lived in Casper for 14 years.

At a Wednesday morning press briefing, Casper police said they were unaware of any history of domestic violence between the two. Sgt. Deahn Amend said alcohol appeared to have played a factor in this incident.

Casper police released a statement shortly after Miller appeared in court.

“This was a sad and tragic situation that not only affects the family, but friends and neighbors as well,” the statement read. “Our thoughts are with you at this heartbreaking time.”

Reach crime reporter Megan Cassidy at 307-266-0534 or megan.cassidy@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter @meganrcassidy.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. Vettester
    Report Abuse
    Vettester - March 29, 2013 12:26 pm
    wmc-e.....your are an idiot. Ihen I had knee surgery last year, Viki herself came by to see how I was. My wife had only been there two years. Do the reading public a favor and go away, as you have nothing useful to contribute.
  2. concerned01
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    concerned01 - March 29, 2013 10:52 am
    I am very sorry for the loss of your loved one although I didn't know Natalie I did know Tom and I think it's important to remember he also had 3 other children who have lost their father. Nobody can imagine why these things happen or what was going through Tom's head at a time like this. I am a strong believer in God having a plan for all things good and bad, so remember to let go and let God. Please keep Dylan, Jordan, and Kayleigh in your prayers as they try to understand why their father did something so unspeakable. They are grieving also just in a different way then you all. May god bless you and keep you all during this difficult time. RIP Natalie.
  3. Worldwarz
    Report Abuse
    Worldwarz - March 28, 2013 7:26 pm
    “He was working on her the whole time, even after the ambulance got there,” she said. “He never broke stride. He just wouldn’t give up.”

    You know, I think the police take a bashing quite a bit around this forum (some probably justified, some probably not), but sometimes I think we forget the kind of things they're called on to do. Kudos to this guy for trying his best. Hopefully he doesn't feel to bad that he was unsuccessful in saving her. That's not a short amount of time to be doing cpr.

  4. angelita
    Report Abuse
    angelita - March 28, 2013 7:13 pm
    I am so sad that "WMC Employee" needs to beat their drum at such a time of tragedy. Time for you to go if you are this jaded.. Dont you think everyone feels the loss of an employee? Should you have been the person they interviewed for such a tragic, sad event that touched many in the hospital? I don" think so-- you would do your own self-serving, its all about me stuff. How dare you be so judgmental!!! shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Xraynae
    Report Abuse
    Xraynae - March 28, 2013 5:27 pm
    We did set up a fund for her children at reliant. It is called the Natalie Miller memorial fund.
  6. Xraynae
    Report Abuse
    Xraynae - March 28, 2013 5:26 pm
    If anyone would like to donate to her children a fund has been set up at reliant it is the Natalie Miller memorial fund.
  7. SB1968
    Report Abuse
    SB1968 - March 28, 2013 1:15 pm
    This is a tragic loss for our family. Natalie was a very friendly outgoing person! Please remember that her family is grieving and nothing anyone can do to bring her back. She would want everyone to care for their friends and family and to remember that life is a precious gift. So please don't be negative or bash people. Just love the ones you have. She was an awesome person and I am sure saved many lives in her line of work. May God be holding her and may her babies be safe and surrounded by love.
  8. Kendall C
    Report Abuse
    Kendall C - March 28, 2013 12:09 pm
    "Natalie Miller was the first to notify police of her death." How about : Natalie Miller was the first to notify police that her life was in danger
  9. AmberV
    Report Abuse
    AmberV - March 28, 2013 11:46 am
    Report AbuseAmberV - 32 minutes ago@PokesNBroncos- I did not know Natalie or her family, but I am so sad for them. In response to your question in regards to what kind of help to offer the family, I suggest a trust fund for her children in which people can donate to. I am sure this would get a great response from the community, I know that I would donate. I used to work in banking. You can visit a local bank, I would reccomend Hilltop, First Interstate, or Jonah Bank and set up a fund for the children that anyone can donate to. Once the account has been established, you should contact the Trib and other news outlets and have them pass the word on to everyone in the community. Just a suggestion.
  10. WMC Employee
    Report Abuse
    WMC Employee - March 28, 2013 10:46 am
    Why would the Trib Quote Vickie and Julie from WMC. The chances of them knowing Natalie are next to none. I would how they (Vickie and Julie) plan to cover for the employees that will attend her funeral, they can't staff the hospital now. On a side note, I bet the media must love access to court/jail pictures so they can print/post them all in the hopes of selling more ads and/or papers.
  11. welder 79
    Report Abuse
    welder 79 - March 28, 2013 10:40 am
    My idea would be anything to help the kiddos this whole ordeal was a shocker extremely sad this happened
  12. oldjules
    Report Abuse
    oldjules - March 28, 2013 9:19 am
    Who wants to be cooped up, it isn't worth it, I love freedom.
  13. PokesnBroncos
    Report Abuse
    PokesnBroncos - March 28, 2013 9:04 am
    Natalie was our neighbor. She was a kind and generous person who was quick to say hello with that wonderful ear-to-ear smile. But the sound of those gunshots rattled our neighborhood. Now we want to help the family. We want the family to know this community cares. But we need ideas. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  14. wyonorsk
    Report Abuse
    wyonorsk - March 28, 2013 7:33 am
    I've known Tom & Natalie since before they were married. I'm in shock! Alcohol cannot help anyone with problems (only God can), alcohol only makes it worse...So sad...
  15. AFY
    Report Abuse
    AFY - March 28, 2013 6:49 am
    Kinda wish a neighbor had a shotgun handy, not to kill him, just take off a chunk so he can still see some prison.
  16. mr
    Report Abuse
    mr - March 28, 2013 4:31 am
    It's always over money or infidelity issues . I would be unable to say I loved somebody if I killed them , especially over money. Some of us are nothing but slaves . " Interest slavery" my neighbor bought a brand new boat last year. And afford the fuel to take it over to the lake.
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