Bail raised to $1M in 1972 murder case, and suspect posts it

Terrence Miller’s planned bowling date with his wife prompted the judge to raise it from $750,000.

Via video monitor, Terrence Miller pleaded not guilty to the first-degree 1972 murder of Jody Loomis, during his arraignment at Snohomish County Courthouse on April 15, 2019 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

Via video monitor, Terrence Miller pleaded not guilty to the first-degree 1972 murder of Jody Loomis, during his arraignment at Snohomish County Courthouse on April 15, 2019 in Everett. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)

EVERETT — A Snohomish County judge raised bail to $1 million Wednesday for the suspect charged with murdering Jody Loomis in 1972. He’d been accused of planning to violate his release conditions by taking his wife bowling.

Terrence Miller, 77, posted $750,000 last month and has been under house arrest in Edmonds since then.

Miller was handcuffed, processed by the jail and released from custody again on Wednesday, after posting the $1 million bond. Miller is represented by a public defender. He’s awaiting trial in a killing that went unsolved for decades.

It was Aug. 23, 1972, when Loomis left her home on Winesap Road, riding a bike to her horse’s stable east of what’s now Mill Creek. About 3½ miles into the bike ride, along a dirt road, she encountered a killer who shot her above her right ear. She was 20.

The case went cold for 47 years. But the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office had DNA evidence. Semen had been left behind on one of Loomis’ boots.

Detectives announced the breakthrough arrest in April. Miller was identified with the help of forensic genealogy, a technique where crime scene DNA is used to build a suspect’s family tree, based largely on data from public ancestry sites.

A crime lab confirmed Miller’s DNA on a discarded coffee cup matched semen on Loomis’ boot, before the suspect was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder.

He pleaded not guilty.

At a bail hearing in late May, defense attorney Laura Martin argued Miller’s wife had suffered a recent stroke that left her disabled, and that her husband was her caretaker.

Loomis’ sister, Jana, begged the judge to not lower bail, because it would be like reliving a nightmare, of knowing Jody’s killer was free.

“Please do not release the accused,” the sister said in May. “He has had his time. Decades. Decades that Jody would never see.”

Superior Court Judge David Kurtz lowered bail from $1 million to $750,000, while tightening restrictions on where Miller could go, if he could raise the funds for his release. Miller and his wife of 40-plus years, Linda, posted the bond June 18.

In Snohomish County, the Office of Public Defense decides who qualifies for a court-appointed lawyer. The entity is separate from the Snohomish County Public Defender Association. Sometimes the office determines that a person needs to contribute cash to their court-appointed defense. The financial paperwork is confidential, even to the attorney.

SCPDA director Kathleen Kyle said, in general, if a defendant’s family helps to post bond, it means the defendant is not only held accountable by the courts, but by the person or people who helped.

The Miller home in Edmonds has an assessed value of $377,000, property records show.

Kurtz put Miller under house arrest in May. Miller could not leave except for necessary outings: groceries, court dates, medical appointments. He could not remove his GPS ankle bracelet, even to shower. A home-monitoring company, Triton, was required to send daily emails to the defense and prosecutor about the defendant’s movements, or lack of movements.

A recorded phone call from jail showed Miller had spoken with his wife about taking her bowling in early June.

“Now I am your driver and, and I want you guys to figure out what date you want to bowl on ’cause I’m gonna be telling ’em you bowl on that date, and I have to take you up there,” he said, according to court papers.

His wife eventually told him, “And they’ll probably say, ‘Too bad.’”

“No, uh, I think we can, I think we can work it out,” Miller said, according to a transcript. “But uh, I just want it, I want to, when I do talk to them, I want to know everything exact, you know.”

In light of the conversation, Judge Kurtz ruled that Miller needed to post another $250,000 bond by 9 a.m. Wednesday, or else go back to jail.

Miller did not come up with the money before the hearing. His public defender, Martin, argued that Kurtz should keep bail at $750,000, because her client complied with his release conditions.

The judge still raised bail.

Then the defense attorney told the courtroom that Miller would be posting the $1 million, as soon as the bail bond company could file the paperwork.

Miller was out of jail again by 1 p.m.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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