OGDEN — When Eric Millerberg was taken to Utah State Prison on Friday by Weber County sheriff’s deputies, it was his fifth trip to Point of the Mountain since November 1997.
Court documents and web searches present a picture of him and his wife, Dea, as sitting well outside the mainstream, in contrast to the middle-class North Ogden neighborhood where they landed in 2008.
He schemed to run a business from the home aiding others in defeating drug tests.
Now he and his wife are the focus of a homicide investigation in the death of their baby-sitter, 16-year-old Alexis Rasmussen, who was buried Saturday.
The Millerbergs’ previous address was in the 2600 block of Jackson Avenue, at the edge of what is considered Ogden’s inner city.
In a letter Millerberg wrote a year ago to a 2nd District Court judge pleading for leniency on his then-latest arrest, he tries to paint a picture of a struggling wage-earner.
“I own my own home, I reside in (sic) and my mortgage is a very handsome sum every month, and in 2009 I was laid off from a job that I had for eight years worth of tenure in (sic) and in January and October of that same year I had major surgery for an inguinal hernia,” all one sentence in the Oct. 14, 2010, letter to Judge Scott Hadley.
“There was a lot of down time and I saw my whole life falling apart and gave into (sic) a weak moment,” he wrote, apparently referring to his May 2010 arrest on charges of credit card fraud and forgery.
He writes of both he and his wife having to work to pay the mortgage and feed their children. Sending him to prison means “we will lose the whole life we have built.
“Please Judge Hadley, I beg you give me a chance to prove myself.”
He talks of earning straight A's toward a bachelor's degree from a local business college and starting a family business with his stepson called Fastone Inc.
He doesn’t detail the business for the judge. But an Internet ad for “Fastone” shows Millerberg by name selling tips on how to fool drug testing.
Send him $10 and a self-addressed stamped envelope to his North Ogden address and the ad promises: “No more stress. No more worries. 100 % success factor.
“The info we send you will guarentee (sic) your success with any style drug screen.”
The letter to the judge concludes with: “Please let me be a father, Eric.”
Whether the letter moved Hadley is hard to gauge, judges relying much more heavily on the recommendations of confidential pre-sentence reports from Adult Probation and Parole. But Millerberg got six months in Weber County Jail, avoiding what would have been his fifth trip to prison.
That came Friday. Hadley found him in violation of his probation on last year’s May arrest for using oxycodone twice.
The Millerbergs’ two children living with them, a daughter born in December and Dea Millerberg’s 6-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, are in state custody, officials said.
Eric Millerberg last week in court asked Hadley to allow him probation so he could enroll in the Child Protection Drug Court program in juvenile court, which oversees custody now of his children.
It would have been a step toward his retaining custody. Hadley declined the request without comment after Deputy Weber Attorney Chris Shaw called the idea “ridiculous.”
The Millerberg court file
Court records show the following cases for Eric Millerberg, 36, and Dea Millerberg, 38. They list aliases for him of “Rooster” and “Shamie.”
• Eric Millerberg case files show arrests in 1997 for burglary in Sandy, automobile theft in February in West Valley City, and theft and forgery in March in Murray. Final disposition of the cases was unclear from the online court database except for unspecified jail terms.
• August, 1997: Millerberg is sentenced to a year in jail for burglary and drug charges in West Jordan and burglary, drug and evading charges in Sandy.
• May 14, 1999: Millerberg is arrested on charges of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of witness tampering in West Jordan. Court records are sparse on detail, but an online white supremacist watchdog organization, the Anti-Defamation League, at ADL.org listed the incident as Millerberg pistol-whipping and threatening to kill a Hispanic family. Charges were dismissed when officials were unable to locate the victims.
• November 1999: Millerberg earns a prison term of up to five years after he is arrested by Salt Lake County’s Metro Gang Unit on charges of discharging a firearm from a vehicle a day after the incident alleged with the Hispanic family.
• In 2002, Dea Millerberg, while still going by her maiden name of Mitchell, was sentenced to a brief jail term in Farmington on a drug charge. Charging documents for her arrest earlier this month on prescription drug abuse charges in North Ogden, which are still pending, list a 2002 arrest for drunken driving in Salt Lake County.
• The couple filed bankruptcy in March of this year, the documents listing income of $3,495 at the time for this year, compared to $40,000 in 2010 and $56,700 in 2009. Eric Millerberg’s only employment listed for 2011 is a brief period as a delivery driver for the Standard-Examiner. Dea Millerberg is listed as working as a nurse.
• The state Board of Pardons lists Eric Millerberg as first sent to prison in November 1997 and first paroled in February 1999. He was back in prison in May 1999. Next released in July 2002, he was returned to prison on a parole violation in December 2003, then released again a year later.
• In January 2005, parole violations send him back to prison, with his release in June 2005.