Donald Gene Miller was born December 28, 1954. Little could be found about the years of his childhood and upbringing. It can be assumed, due to the backstories of many other serial killers, that he was abused to some degree as a child. But we must never assume anything, that’s how people usually get murdered. Since we know little of his background, we will jump ahead to college for the promising man. It is stated that Miller graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Criminal Justice. I can’t be the only one who finds that ironic.
Between 1977 and 1978, three women had gone missing. The police had a suspected Don Miller as the perpetrator, but they had too little evidence against him to move in. His arrest was hindered by the fact that they had not yet found the bodies in addition to the lack of physical evidence. However, Miller was not done with his crimes yet.
At age 23, Miller was convicted of his first known crime, raping a teenage girl and attempting to murder her and her brother. During the trial, psychologists diagnosed him as a religious fanatic with psychotic paranoia. These diagnoses did not help him with a plea for insanity and he was hit with a 30-50 year sentence in prison.
We flash forward to July of 1979. Miller, after spending about a year of his sentence so far, has confessed once more. This confession just as brutal- if not more- than the last. He shared the stories of his four other victims. Miller admitted to killing four East Lansing women, one of which was his fiancé. Due to the voluntary confession, he somehow managed to get a plea deal for these horrific crimes, adding only 15 more years to the sentence he was already serving as voluntary manslaughter. I don’t know about you, but it sure sounds a lot like murder to me.
On the 29th of August that same year, the deal was finalized. In court Miller stated “I’m deeply sorry for what has happened. I wish I could undo what was done.” Unfortunately Don, that simply cannot be. The lives of four innocent women were taken and two others have been so deeply traumatized that they may never be able to recover from it.
As part of the aforementioned plea bargain, Miller eventually led authorities to the bodies of the women he’d slain. The discoveries of the remains could finally allow the victims’ families to lay their lost loved ones to rest.
Because of the laws in place at the time of his conviction, Miller had been up for parole in the past a few times. To avoid the high chances of it being granted to him, the warden managed to find ways to revoke his good behavior credits. The strategy taken was to find any wrong-doings he had been a part of and by completing surprise bunk checks for Miller’s cell. This strategy made it so they were able to keep him in prison. Through a specific search, they found what CO’s described as a “cord-like device” that “could be used to strangle someone.” As a result of this, he was sentenced to another sentence of 20-40 years.
In February of 2017, having earned 10 years off of his sentence for good behavior, Miller stood a chance to be released. Luckily, the judge ruling on this decided that he was still a danger to society and should not be released. Therefore, he stayed behind bars for the foreseeable future. Since he has shown remorse for what he has done, parole could most likely lean toward his favor in the future. But we have to remember that he was diagnosed with psychotic paranoia during his initial trial.
Many victim’s rights activists have been pushing for his parole opportunities to be denied for life. A major player in this fight is Sue Young, the mother of Miller’s first victim Martha Sue. Because of the loss of her daughter, she has been fighting endlessly for the Violent Predator Bill. According to Mrs. Young, Martha Sue and Miller had dated prior to her murder. She has told reporters often that he had attended church with the family and became a close family friend. She does ask that he not be portrayed as a Christian or a “decent human being.”
In 2018, Donald Gene Miller has an opportunity to be granted parole once more, but the fight to keep him behind bars continues.