Kevin McMiller told police detectives he was mad at Shirley Owney when he stabbed her to death almost two years ago.
McMiller, 22, is on trial for the death of Owney on March 23, 2012, and the kidnapping and rape of a member of Owney’s family.
Wednesday afternoon, Police Sgt. Bill Wiegand, who was a detective and hostage negotiator in 2012 when Owney was killed, talked about an interview with McMiller that was conducted after McMiller and the girl were located at an abandoned house about three blocks from the apartment where Owney was killed.
In that interview, which was played for the jury of eight women and four men plus two female alternates, McMiller said he and the girl, then 16, had broken up about two weeks prior to the incident and he walked from his house in the Shady Grove area to the apartment on Poplar Street, where he stood outside making phone calls threatening the girl and listening to Owney and the girl talk.
“Shirley Owney was not saying nice things about Kevin McMiller, who was standing outside the window listening,” Chief Deputy Prosecutor Wayne Juneau said in his opening statement Wednesday morning.
Juneau said McMiller jumped through the glass window of the girl’s bedroom and when the girl ran into the kitchen where Owney was, he followed and when they tried to get out the door, he slammed the door shut and then stabbed Owney.
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Erickson said Owney’ death resulted from a “dynamic violent struggle.
“Almost every part of her body had injuries to it,” Erickson said, telling Juneau the cause of death was multiple stab wounds and the manner of death of death was “clear cut, a homicide.”
After stabbing Owney, McMiller pulled the girl out of the apartment and walked her to the abandoned house where she was sexually assaulted several times before police found the two after following a trail of blood from the apartment, according to the testimony.
Wednesday morning, former Crime Scene Technician April Wright Davis, who now works for the Arkansas Department of Corrections, described following that trail, which she said began at the apartment and ended at the front door of 1006 W. 21st Ave.
Davis said while she was following the trail, she was joined by several police officers, including Officer Richard Wegner.
“I went to the rear window and peeked through the window and saw a mattress on the floor with what looked like blood on it,” Wegner told Deputy Prosecutor Bryan Achorn.
Wegner said he notified the other officers who were involved in the search, then he and Officer Ryan Edwards went into the house, where Edwards made the first contact with McMiller and the girl.
“He was sitting with his back to the wall with the girl sitting between his legs naked and he was holding a knife at her throat,” Wegner said. “He said to ‘shoot me. I can’t go back on what I’ve done.’”
Wegner then called for now-retired Police Lt. Bob Rawlinson, who was a trained hostage negotiator, and after Rawlinson talked to McMiller for awhile, Wiegand took over.
“He was never upset,” Wiegand said. “He never spoke loud. He wanted us to kill him but he never made any actions to provoke us.”
Wiegand said the girl was hysterical about Owney and was worried about herself and crying while he tried to talk to McMiller and he didn’t mention anything about Owney or the fact that she was dead.
“I didn’t need her (the girl) to be more upset that she already was and I felt if he knew he had killed Owney, he might have gone further,” Wiegand said.
When she testified, the girl, now 17, said she didn’t know Owney was dead until she found out after being taken to Jefferson Regional Medical Center, where she was treated for severe cuts to both hands, which resulted in a permanent injury to one of them.
She said she and McMiller were formerly girlfriend-boyfriend, and she dated him “off and on” for about two years, beginning when she was 14 and he was 18.
Asked by Juneau if she and McMiller were having sex at that time, she said yes and also said that Owney didn’t like the relationship and asked her to end it.
She also talked about seeing McMiller stab Owney, saying “I was screaming, telling him to stop.
“When she fell to the floor, he grabbed me, put a knife to my throat and walked me out the door,” she said. “He didn’t say anything.”
She said she asked McMiller a number of times to call an ambulance for Owney but he refused and instead sexually assaulted her.
“I was scared that he would kill me,” she said.
When Rawlinson and then Wiegand tried to negotiate with McMiller, the only demand he made was he wanted police to go get the girl some clothing and when they did, he allowed her to get dressed and put the knife down, which was collected by Davis.
Davis said in her testimony that the 12-inch knife had an 8-inch blade and McMiller said he had brought it with him when he walked from his home to Owney’s apartment.
The body was discovered after an upstairs neighbor heard a smoke alarm and, when she couldn’t reach Owney on the phone, called 9-1-1.
A truck from Station Three at 32nd Avenue and Ash Street was the first to arrive, carrying Capt. Earnest Stacy and firefighter Brody Channell.
Stacy testified that when he looked at the back door, it was ajar and he saw what appeared to be fire, so Channell went in with a hose and, after extinguishing the flames from a cooking fire on the stove, Channell saw the body.
After police arrived, Channell said he saw what appeared to be “a couple of blood spots” on the pavement and he continued to follow the blood spots until they reached the street where police took over.
Wiegand said McMiller “showed no remorse” about stabbing Owney when he was being questioned.
“He showed no emotion at all,” Wiegand said.
Attorneys John Cone and Sandra Trotter Phillips from the Public Defender’s Office are representing McMiller during the trial, which is being conducted in Fifth Division Circuit Court before Judge Jodi Raines Dennis.
The state rested late Wednesday afternoon and it will be the defense’s turn when the trial resumes at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The state has waived the death penalty and, if McMiller is convicted of capital murder, he would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.