Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

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Court hears arguments in killer’s death penalty case

CARSON CITY – Jeremiah Miller borrowed $12,000 and came to Las Vegas from Phoenix in 2002 to buy the ingredients to make methamphetamine.

His body was found, minus head, legs and arms.

Miller’s drug partner Scott R. Dozier was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

JoNell Thomas, a deputy special public defender, told the Nevada Supreme Court that District Judge Jennifer Togliatti should not have admitted evidence from a medical examiner that Miller was shot in the head.

She argued that the judge should have permitted a jury instruction on voluntary manslaughter. She said these two men may have been high on meth at the La Concha hotel in April 2002 and an argument could have erupted.

Thomas said there was no premeditation to justify a first-degree murder conviction. “There is nothing to show he (Dozier) was planning a murder,” she said.

But Giancarlo Pesci, a chief deputy district attorney in Clark County, argued there was testimony at the trial from a witness who said she was told by Dozier he shot Miller in the back of the head in the motel room.

Pesci said the two men came to Las Vegas to buy ephedrine so they could make methamphetamine. When the first deal fell through, Miller returned to Arizona. But Dozier remained in Las Vegas and then called Miller to return to Clark County for another deal.

He said Dozier was a convicted felon who was a “fugitive from justice” at the time of the killing. Dozier was arrested two months after the body was found.

Dozier, now 39, is being held at the state prison in Ely on the murder and robbery charges. He is also appealing a second-degree murder conviction in Arizona.

Pesci said there was no evidence to show that Miller gave any provocation to Dozier to shoot him. This rules out the defense of voluntary manslaughter, he said.

Thomas said the judge allowed the prosecution to introduce a gun at trial but that weapon was never tied to the killing. She said the gun sat on the table in front of the jury during the trial and the penalty hearing and it was a huge prejudice to the defense.

Pesci argued the prosecution had the right to introduce the gun, which was found on Dozier when he was arrested.

Pesci argued that a prosecution witness testified that she was told by Dozier he used a gun to shoot Miller in the back of the head.

After hearing arguments for an hour, the court took the case under study. Thomas had submitted an 80-page opening brief to the court. Deputy District Attorney Nancy Becker filed a 75-page answering brief in the case.

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