Defense attorney says homicide charges coming against the Millerbergs

Oct 27 2011 - 8:53pm

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Dea Millerberg leaves the courtroom after a hearing at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Dea Millerberg leaves the courtroom after a hearing with her public defender Mike Bouwhuis in the background at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Eric Millerberg stands next to his public defender Randall Marshall during his sentencing for a drug violation at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Eric Millerberg stands in court during his sentencing for a drug violation at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Dea Millerberg leaves the courtroom after a hearing at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Dea Millerberg leaves the courtroom after a hearing with her public defender Mike Bouwhuis in the background at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Eric Millerberg stands next to his public defender Randall Marshall during his sentencing for a drug violation at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)
Eric Millerberg stands in court during his sentencing for a drug violation at the 2nd District Court in Ogden on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.  (KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN -- The defense attorney for Dea Millerberg says he was notified Wednesday that "charges will be coming" against Millerberg and her husband, Eric, in the death of Alexis Rasmussen.

Michael Bouwhuis, Dea Millerberg's public defender, said Weber County Attorney Dee Smith told him it could be a month before the charges are filed, pending test results from the state medical examiner.

"That's what I've been told," he said.

Alexis Rasmussen was last seen baby-sitting for the Millerbergs the night of Sept. 9. Her body was located Oct. 18 in Morgan County.

Smith said he had no comment on Bouwhuis' remark about charges.

Bouwhuis said he was told the range of charges possible under the state's homicide statutes is "wide open," from negligent homicide, a misdemeanor, to premeditated murder.

Asked about capital homicide, he said, "That's a possibility."

Dea Millerberg was in 2nd District Court on Wednesday on drug charges unrelated to Rasmussen's death.

Her case was postponed to Nov. 16 before Judge W. Brent West to allow Bouwhuis time to familiarize himself with the details. Millerberg is being held on $10,000 bail, which she has not yet raised.

Eric Millerberg was sentenced to up to five years in prison Tuesday by Judge Scott Hadley for violating the terms of his probation on credit card fraud charges by using oxycodone twice in recent weeks.

Smith spoke guardedly and briefly to reporters after Dea Millerberg's hearing Wednesday, declining to use even the expression "persons of interest" to describe the couple as he did Tuesday after Eric Millerberg's hearing.

"I don't want to use any terms," he said. "They're being investigated is all I want to say."

He did acknowledge the Weber County homicide task force has been involved in the case since well before Alexis' remains were found, even before a search warrant was executed at the Millerberg home Oct. 9, just days after both were arrested on the unrelated charges.

Smith has said as many as a dozen task force members assisted North Ogden police, including task force coordinator Shane Minor, who is one of two investigators in the county attorney's office, as well as detectives from Ogden, Plain City, Harrisville and South Ogden, and agents from Adult Probation and Parole.

Bouwhuis spoke to reporters just 10 minutes after Smith did so.

Dea Millerberg had previously been assigned public defender Randall Marshall. Bouwhuis also represented Eric Millerberg on Tuesday.

"Because of the direction of the homicide investigation, we were advised of the possible conflict of interest in having Randy represent both Millerbergs," Bouwhuis said.

He and Marshall discussed the quandary Tuesday, and Bouwhuis was given Dea Millerberg's drug case Wednesday.

Under ethics guidelines, one attorney can't represent two clients if they are both charged with the same offense, Bouwhuis said, because they may have different desires in handling the case, such as one wishing to testify against the other.

Smith said he wasn't concerned over the prospect of Dea Millerberg making bail.

"I'll let the legal process play out."

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