Trial set in soldiers' killing

An honor guard soldier accused of killing a pair of married soldiers, trying to disfigure their bodies with acid and kidnapping their baby daughter is slated to go to trial on premeditated murder charges next week at Joint Base Lewis-Mc-Chord.

Spc. Ivette G. Davila, 24, could face the death penalty in the March 2, 2008, slayings of Staff Sgt. Timothy Miller and Sgt. Randi Miller inside the couple’s Parkland home.

“The charges were referred as a capital case, and the court-martial is scheduled to begin Monday,” base spokeswoman Catherine Caruso said Wednesday. She said it’s on the calendar to last three days.

After a pre-trial hearing last December, Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathis, Lewis-McChord’s acting commander, decided in March that there was enough evidence to proceed to a full court-martial with the death penalty as a possible outcome – a rarity in military courts. This would be the first capital trial at the local base in recent memory, if ever.

But Timothy Miller’s mother said Wednesday that family members were told by prosecutors that a plea agreement had been reached. Relatives are headed to Tacoma from around the country, and they expect to testify next week – even if it turns out to be a sentencing hearing after a guilty plea.

Tami Gray, of Gardnerville, Nev., said the family is disappointed authorities may allow Davila to avoid a death sentence. Gray’s 27-yearold son and 25-year-old daughter-in-law both served as combat medics in Iraq.

“They kind of went against the family’s wishes by doing a plea bargain,” Gray told The News Tribune. “There are people who have done less than she has and have gotten the death penalty.”

Caruso said Lewis-McChord does not comment on potential plea agreements or anything else that could affect the outcome of a court proceeding.

In addition to premeditated murder, Davila was charged with burglary, kidnapping and obstruction of justice. She allegedly met up with the Millers at a Tacoma nightclub, went back to their home, shot Randi Miller twice in the head and beat her, then shot Timothy Miller four times while he showered, according to prosecutors.

Later, authorities say, she drove to a home-improvement store, bought muriatic acid and tried to burn both bodies in the bathtub to cover up the crime. She took the couple’s 7-month-old daughter, Kassidy, back to her barracks and confessed to a fellow soldier that she had “hurt people bad,” according to prosecutors.

Davila’s attorneys did not dispute the facts presented at last year’s hearing but did try to raise doubts about the defendant’s mental competency, saying she reported delusions such as seeing flashes of light and hearing strange voices. Davila’s lawyers also said she was denied the opportunity to travel from Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, where she is locked up, to assist with her defense at Lewis-Mc-Chord.

Gray, who is now raising her granddaughter Kassidy, said family members will wear white roses and dark purple ribbons in court next week to honor Timothy and Randi Miller. The symbols represent victims of violent crime and the pursuit of justice on their behalf.

Dark purple is also fitting because Timothy Miller liked to see his baby daughter dressed in that color.

Kassidy turns 3 next week, her grandmother said.