MILLER, PERRY S. # 68
OFF DEATH ROW SINCE 06-29-01
DOB: 10-14-1947 DOC#: 911827 White Male
Porter County Superior Court
H. Douglas, Gwen R. Rinkenberger
Defense: Ron V. Aungst,
Robert S. Kentner
Date of Murder: November
Helmchen W/F/19 (No relationship to Miller)
Method of Murder:
shooting with shotgun
Summary: At 1:30 a.m. Valporaiso Police discovered
that Christel Helmchen, the attendant at the White Hen
Pantry on Calumet Avenue was missing. A few hours later,
her body was found near Highway #6 with evidence of
sexual assault and severe injuries to her pubic area and
anal canal. The cause of death was a shotgun wound to the
head. Helmchen's checkbook was later found in Miller's
driveway. Miller's stepson, Rodney Wood, had lived with
Miller at that address for 3 months, and during that time
committed numerous burglaries and thefts. Wood and his
friend, William Harmon, were arrested in Kentucky in a
stolen car that contained clothing belonging to Helmchen.
Wood entered into a plea agreement whereby the State
would not pursue a Death Sentence in exchange for a
statement. In the statement, Wood admitted that he,
Miller, and Harmon had discussed robbing the White Hen,
and that Harmon told them he had found a remote place to
take the clerk where they could rape her and kill her.
Miller drove Wood and Harmon to the White Hen and waited
in the car while Wood and Harmon went inside, robbed the
clerk at gunpoint, and escorted her to her car. Wood
drove Helmchen's car and Miller followed to Highway #6.
Harmon gagged and tied her and she was then dragged to a
construction site. Miller fondled her, threw her to the
floor and ordered Wood to have sex with her, which he
did. Miller instructed Wood and Harmon to tie her upright
to a wall and Miller beat her with his fists. Harmon
struck her with the shotgun. Miller then beat her with a
2 X 4 and stuck her with an ice pick in the thigh and
breast. Upon Miller's direction, Wood and Harmon
retrieved a tire iron and inserted it into her rectum
while Miller watched. Miller and Wood then walked to the
car. Harmon followed Helmchen out, put the shotgun to the
back of her head and fired. An ISP hair examiner
identified pubic hairs from Miller on the body of the
Trial: Information/PC for Murder and DP filed (11-19-90); Motion for Early Trial (12-18-90); Amended Information filed (02-22-91); Voir Dire (04-01-91, 04-02-91, 04-03-91, 04-04-91, 04-05-91); Jury Trial (04-08-91, 04-09-91, 04-10-91, 04-11-91, 04-12-91, 04-13-91, 04-15-91, 04-16-91, 04-17-91); Verdict (04-17-91); DP Trial (04-18-91); Verdict (04-18-91); Court Sentencing (05-20-91).
Confinement (B Felony), Rape (A Felony), CDC (A Felony),
Robbery (A Felony), Conspiracy to Commit Murder (A
Sentencing: May 20, 1991 (Death Sentence, 20 years, 50 years, 50 years, 50 years, 50 years)
b (1) Rape, CDC, Robbery; b(9) On parole
Behaved well as a prisoner for 19 years, kind and helpful
to roommate and child, during childhood did not display
sadistic tendencies, sensitive and caring individual, stepdaughter allowed him to babysit
Miller v. State, 623 N.E.2d 403 (Ind. October 26, 1993)
Conviction Affirmed 5-0 DP Affirmed 4-1
Givan Opinion; Shepard, Debruler, Krahulik concur; Dickson dissents.
PCR Petition filed 03-17-95. PCR denied 07-22-96 by Special Judge Raymond D. Kickbush.
Miller v. State, 702 N.E.2d 1053 (Ind. 1998)
(Appeal of PCR denial by Special Judge Kickbush)
Affirmed 5-0. Sullivan Opinion; Shepherd, Dickson, Selby, Boehm concur.
Miller v. Anderson, 255 F.3d 455 (7th Cir. June 29, 2001).
Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed 08-17-99 in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana.
Writ denied 08-17-99 by U.S. District Court Judge Allen Sharp.
(Appeal of habeas denial; REVERSED 3-0; Habeas granted as to conviction and sentence on grounds of ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to call as witnesses hair and DNA experts, and in calling psychologist which allowed impeachment by Miller's prior convictions. State ordered to retry or release Miller within 120 days).
Opinion by Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, Judge Frank H. Easterbrook, Judge Kenneth F. Ripple.
On August 7, 2001, Miller entered a guilty plea to the charges pursuant to a Plea Agreement calling for a 138 year sentence, and was sentenced by Porter County Superior Court Judge Roger V. Bradford to consecutive terms of 60 years (Murder), 50 years (Conspiracy to Murder), 20 years (Confinement), and 8 years (Robbery).
As of July 1, 2006