Prosecutor details murder allegations

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks called a series of witnesses to the stand in Island County Superior Court Friday and Tuesday to painstakingly describe the scene of a 1997 murder.

Miley Miley, a 57-year-old Camano Island resident, is on trial in the shooting death of her former housemate, Jack Pearson. She is charged with first-degree murder with a deadly weapons enhancement, second-degree murder and first-degree theft.

Banks used a film projector, photographs, a blown-up map, hand-outs and even a three-dimensional video recreation of Pearson’s giant Camano Island home to describe the crime scene to the jurors.

Banks questioned the first two deputies at the scene, a firefighter, the county coroner and a detective in great detail about what they found in the house Dec. 19, 1997. In addition, he questioned a deputy who spoke with Miley right after the murder.

Deputies Bill Vaughn and Joe Uhrich said that they responded to a report of a possible masked burglar at the house in the early morning. They found the house empty so Vaughn carefully searched the bottom floor with a flashlight and pistol. He found Pearson’s bloody body in a hallway. In the kitchen he saw blood spattered and knocked over furniture.

Banks showed the jury a grisly slide of Pearson.

“It was a nightmare situation,” Vaughn said. “Someone could pop out at you at any moment. ... I focused my breathing and focused very hard on what I was doing.”

Island County Coroner Robert Bishop told jurors that he estimated Pearson’s time of death at around 3 a.m. based on body temperature, lividity and rigor. He said the forensic pathologist recovered five bullets from his torso.

On Friday, volunteer firefighter Kevin Jones took the stand and explained how he sat with Miley at a neighbor’s home while detectives processed the murder scene. He said Miley shifted from hysteria to near-catatonia, sweated profusely and shouted, ”He’s still out there.” Jones also said Miley told him that her ex-husband had a contract out on her and that she had seen an intruder with a black mask.

Miley is accused of shooting Pearson five times and hitting him in the head with a blunt object, then stealing cash from a safe, according to court documents.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Miley originally claimed that a masked man broke into the house and killed Pearson. She later told detectives that she killed him because “she was afraid he was going to rape her,” Detective Robert Clark wrote.

The trial is expected to last through Dec. 4.

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