EVERETT, Washington — A man on trial for a nearly 50-year-old cold-case killing committed suicide just hours before being convicted of a murder he had been tied to through DNA collected from a discarded coffee cup, authorities said.
Terrence Miller had been on trial for the rape and shooting of 20-year-old Jody Loomis in Everett, Washington in 1972. He had finally been connected to the slaying by DNA evidence retrieved from sperm found on Loomis’ boot.
After the 78-year-old Miller was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home, the jury convicted him of first-degree murder.
Loomis was found by passersby with a gunshot wound to her head on a dirt road 48 years ago. She was alive but unable to speak and died later that day.
The case went unsolved for nearly 47 years when detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office connected Miller to the killing through a genetic profile uploaded to a public ancestry database.
A genealogist identified Miller as a person of interest and detectives quietly put him under surveillance until they could get a sample of his DNA from a discarded coffee cup at a casino. It came back as an apparent match to the semen. Miller, who was a retired equipment operator and lifelong resident of the area, was arrested in April 2019.
Miller posted a $1 million bond and was under house arrest for over a year. It was unclear how he acquired the gun he used to kill himself as the court had required him to surrender any weapons.
According to trial testimony, Miller told his wife and a friend that the DNA evidence was too strong to overcome and that he would most likely end up in prison.