New hope of solving 'cold case'
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2002
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By Walt Platteborze
Morano heads the state's 4-year-old "cold case squad," a shifting coalition of state and local police and prosecutors that resurrects unsolved murders. The disappearance of Julianne Miller on Sept. 22, 1982, from her South Cove neighborhood residence, is not officially labeled a murder, but authorities believe Miller, 27, was killed and her body disposed of somewhere.
What buoys Morano's outlook about this case is how well the squad has done recently on other high-profile cases. "Cold-case units have had a lot of success in the last year," he said.
He pointed to convictions in the last few months of Edward Grant, 59, of Waterbury, in the 1973 murder of Concetta "Penney" Serra in a downtown New Haven parking garage; of Nicole Pelletier, 41, of New Brunswick, Canada, as an accessory in the 1989 murder of her husband, Olidor, in Plymouth; and of Michael Skakel, 41, in the 1975 bludgeoning murder of 15-year-old Martha Moxley in Greenwich.
Morano said he couldn't give any specifics on the status of the Miller case, but added, "we hope to be able to say more in the near future � as we tie up loose ends."
The cold case unit, working with Old Saybrook police, took on the Miller case last fall.
Authorities say James Clayton, 48, Miller's live-in boyfriend at the time of her disappearance, remains the prime suspect. Clayton told police he saw Miller leave the morning of Sept. 22 in a pickup truck driven by a man.
Miller's father, the late Carlton Miller of Deep River, reported his daughter missing to police on Sept.
29. Clayton allegedly told investigators he didn't report his girlfriend's disappearance because he thought that would jeopardize her chances of getting a job with state police.
Cushions were missing from a couch in the residence. They were never recovered, but police said they found specks of blood on the couch springs.
With the perfection of DNA technology, authorities are now able to seek analysis of the blood to see if there is a DNA match with the missing woman.
Old Saybrook police Detective Sgt. Eugean Heiney said the cold case squad is awaiting results from testing being done at a laboratory in Pennsylvania. They hope that such physical evidence could lead to an arrest.
Some months ago, local and state police conducted a search of woods in Deep River that had been owned by the Miller family. Morano said he could not comment on the results of that search.
Meanwhile, authorities are able to keep close tabs on Clayton, 48, who is doing five years in the U.S.
Army prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for attempted murder.
Clayton, a captain in the Army medical corps, was found guilty on April 11 of attacking a fellow officer and friend with a hammer during an alleged robbery attempt in Hawaii, where the two were stationed.
Heiney said Connecticut law enforcement agencies have been in contact with the Army's Office of Judge Advocate to glean information on the attempted-murder case that might be helpful in the Miller probe, and also intend to interview the victim.http://www.nhregister.com/articles/2002/07...ort/4845179.txt