OGDEN -- Trial witnesses provided a clearer picture Thursday of the days and weeks following Eric Millerberg's alleged killing of 16-year-old Alexis Rasmussen.
North Ogden detective William Aeschlimann told Weber County prosecutors he recorded conversations with Millerberg at his doorstep in the days following Rasmussen's disappearance. The recording was played for the jury.
"I feel bad if something happened to her," Millerberg can be heard saying.
But Millerberg was also defiant during the questioning.
"I keep my distance from kids, you know what I mean," he can be heard telling Aeschlimann. "Like I told her mom, I'm not going to tell a 16-year-old girl she can't leave my house."
Millerberg insisted to the detective that Rasmussen was planning to stay the night but then changed her mind and went to meet up with a friend.
"We offered her a ride home ... and that was it. We haven't heard from her," he said in the recording.
Rasmussen's mother, Dawn Miera, shook her head and teared up as the audio played.
Millerberg is charged with first-degree child abuse homicide, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, desecration of a corpse and obstruction of justice.
Millerberg's defenders disputed Aeschlimann's expertise for detecting symptoms of illegal drug use, but Judge Scott Hadley allowed it. Aeschlimann testified Millerberg seemed to be under the influence of drugs, "mainly meth."
Aeschliman also said police were seeking the help of several other departments, including the FBI.
"The entire department was involved in this case," he said. "From the police chief down to the newest patrol officer."
Prosecutors also showed video of police driving to the location where they found Rasmussen's body, guided by Millerberg's alleged accomplish, Eric "Peanut" Smith.
Investigators quickly found the body, he said. Smith "shudders, turns and falls to his knees" when he encounters the decomposed body, Aeschlimann testified.
"At that point I thought he was going to throw up."
Photos and video of the body were not shown to the courtroom.
An informant for police, identified simply as "inmate witness #1," entered the courtroom of Judge Scott Hadley with heavy chains around his arms and legs. He testified that Millerberg, a friend of 10 years, had told him about underage girls hanging out at his home.
"He told me in fact he had then gotten them high ... and that they wanted to have a threesome with his wife," the inmate said.
He described Millerberg's calls to him on Sept. 12, one day after police say the Millerbergs hid Rasmussen's body the first time. Investigators say Millerberg sought help moving the body for a second time.
"(Millerberg) said, 'I need help getting rid of something, homes," the inmate recounted.
He said he grew nervous Millerberg would get him in trouble, so he turned him down and shut off his phone. He "put two and two together" when he saw a missing person poster of Alexis at a gas station about one week later.
Prosecution emphasized that the inmate was not receiving reduced prison time for his cooperation, and he testified they were correct.
Seasons Burnett, described as a Rassmussen friend, also took the stand and testified that she, Rasmussen and Dea Millerberg would exchange drugs and money on a per-need basis.
Smith, also in chains when he testified Thursday, told prosecutors he met up with Eric Millerberg to head up Weber Canyon toward Morgan County to find the body and move it again. When they arrived, he said, Millerberg grew anxious.
"He said to move real fast because he didn't feel safe where she was at," Smith said.
He then described in detail Millerberg moving the body.
Weber County investigator Shane Minor also testified in the case. Minor works with the county's Homicide Task Force and said he has a lot of experience trying to determine whether missing teenagers were simply runaways or something more serious was at stake.
Walgreen's surveillance footage of Rasmussen and Millerberg was a major red flag in the case, he said.
"If she's there to babysit, why is she (away from home) with Dea?" he asked rhetorically.
Detectives were also alarmed that Rasmussen, usually active on social media, had been silent on her various pages.
"Sometime that night her phone just goes off the grid," Minor testified. "Everything stopped the night she's at Eric Millerberg's house."
Minor's voice cracked as he described the deteriorated condition in which Smith led him and other policemen to the body more than a month later. Partial photos of the body in the brush were shown, as was a video showing Smith and an officer standing over the body.
Inmate #4 in the case, who remained unidentified, had stayed with Millerberg for two weeks in Weber County Jail. He gave impassioned testimony against him, saying Millerberg bragged about the drugs and sex with Rasmussen and other underage girls, along with some of their mothers.
"He was running around like it was just some big game," the inmate said.
Millerberg showed no remorse, the inmate claimed.
"I'll never forget the last thing he told me," he said. "He told me. 'I hope it snows before hunting season' so nobody would find the body.
Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or email@example.com. Follow his live tweets from the trial on Twitter at @SE_Lockhart.