SEATTLE -- A man accused of a heinous sexual assault and murder of a young Bothell woman will get to be home for the holidays. On Wednesday, an Everett judge formally set a trial date for 77-year-old Terrence Miller.
Miller is facing a first-degree murder charge in the case of Jody Loomis, who was killed in Snohomish County in 1972.
Soft-spoken and small in stature, Miller was a much younger man when investigators say he preyed upon 20-year-old Jody Loomis in August 1972. It was still daylight when detectives say the young woman was sexually assaulted and shot in the head in the Mill Creek woods.
Earlier that day, Jody left her Bothell home to head to the stables, something she did routinely. But it was the first time she had ever ridden her bike there alone.
“This was such an innocent victim. She was just riding her bicycle down the road when she ended up being raped and murdered,” said Snohomish County Sheriff’s Detective, Jim Scharf. Scharf added that the Loomis case is the oldest case with DNA evidence in Snohomish County.
It’s exactly the kind of cold case that investigators dream of solving, and incredibly, 47 years after the murder that DNA evidence led detective Scharf to a suspect by using forensic genealogy.
Using the DNA to build a family tree led detectives to Miller, a lifelong Edmonds man who by all accounts was a stranger to Loomis.
“She had her whole life ahead of her, and it was just taken away, just taken away. We live with that every day,” said Jody’s sister Jana Smith.
Miller would have been 30 years old when Jody was killed. For detectives and Jody’s loved ones, an arrest for her murder was a monumental moment, a time when justice finally seemed possible. But a couple months after Miller was arrested, those close to the case got some startling news.
“How could this be? How could this happen? Do you hear of this? I mean, we’ve never heard of this happening before. That he could be out, go home to his house, go home to his wife," said Jana Smith.
She makes an effort to stay composed when talking about Miller’s release, but it’s evident the news has caused her immense pain.
Like Jody’s loved ones, detective Scharf was also shocked to hear Miller had made bail. “It was pretty hard to believe that somebody could bail out on one million dollars bail. It’s the only case that I can think of in my 42 years in law enforcement where somebody bailed out on a first-degree murder charge.”
When Miller was charged with first-degree murder, prosecutors asked the judge to set bail at $1 million, a standard number for murder cases. What’s not standard is a defendant being able to come up with those funds.
According to court documents, Miller used a bail company that tells us defendants have to pay them 10% of the bond, and that’s money the defendants will never get back. In this case, Miller would’ve had to pay $100,000 to get the comforts of home while waiting to stand trial.
“It concerns me that he’s out there and he can move around in the community if he wants to. He is on electronic home monitoring but you always wonder how accurate that system works,” said detective Scharf.
In addition to having to wear an ankle monitor, Miller is under other restrictions, such as only being permitted to leave the house for certain reasons such as the court, grocery shopping, and doctor’s appointments. But that’s little consolation for Jody’s family.
“I don’t think that this is right. The family, we’re devastated. There’s a lot of risk by letting someone bailout in a murder case,” said Jody’s sister, Jana.
We wanted to speak with Terrence Miller about his charges and the large sum of money he’s paid to stay out of a cell, at least for now. Miller declined to speak on camera but confirmed he paid the full $100,000 bond.
Miller is scheduled to go to trial on June 5.