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Alleged killer injected North Ogden babysitter with drugs

Published April 10, 2012 7:48 am

Ogden man ordered to stand trial in death of Alexis Rasmussen.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden » Three times in the final hours of Alexis Rasmussen's life, Eric Millerberg injected the girl with a combination of drugs that led to the North Ogden teenager's fatal overdose last September, witnesses testified in court Monday.

The most damning testimony against the 36-year-old Millerberg came from his wife, Dea Millerberg, who took the witness stand during the preliminary hearing in 2nd District Court and described how 16-year-old Alexis' occasional babysitting job transformed into a friendship centered on drugs.

At first, the Millerbergs paid Alexis and a friend in Xanax for their services, according to testimony. But eventually the girl began asking about methamphetamine — another drug the Millerbergs used. Dea Millerberg said her husband showed Alexis how to smoke it using a light bulb.

Friends said Eric Millerberg saw himself as a protector of young users. Prosecutors say he killed a child.

"As a society, we recognize children can be vulnerable ... and we expect the adults in their lives to guide them," Weber County Attorney Dee Smith said. "In this case we have exactly the opposite."

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Scott Hadley ordered Eric Millerberg to stand trial on charges of child abuse homicide, a first-degree felony, as well as obstructing justice, desecrating a body and having unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

"Her death is a tragedy, but that doesn't mean Eric is guilty," said defense attorney Randall Marshall.

Dea Millerberg, whose charges include desecration, was given immunity that will keep prosecutors from using her testimony against her, but Smith said she would not be given "a walk" on her own cases.

Dea Millerberg said Alexis' interest in drug use grew and she eventually began to ask about intravenous use, which was the Millerbergs' preferred method for getting high.

Last August, Dea Millerberg said she told the girl they had some "pretty good dope" and invited her over. It would be the first time Eric Millerberg injected the drug into the teen's veins, Dea Millerberg testified. The next time would be a month later and the first step toward girl's death, officials said.

On Sept. 10, the Millerbergs wanted to buy a birthday gift for one of their two daughters, and Dea Millerberg asked Alexis if she would watch the children.

Dea Millerberg picked up the girl from a friend's house. But instead of going shopping, Eric and Dea Millerberg stayed at the house and got high with Alexis.

It was late afternoon or early evening, Dea Millerberg recalled. In the bathroom off her bedroom, Eric Millerberg prepared three shots of heroin. Dea injected the drug into herself. Then Eric did it for Alexis and himself, his wife said.

As the night progressed, Dea and Alexis drove to a pharmacy in Layton to have a prescription filled. When they returned it was nearing midnight.

Again in the bathroom, Eric Millerberg mixed up three shots. This time, methamphetamine. This time, he shot the drug into Alexis' neck, his wife said.

Alexis was "huggy," Dea Millerberg said. The three had sex with each other in August, after shooting up, Dea Millerberg said. But this time "it wasn't working," so they decided to do another shot of meth.

Alexis said it was "the highest she'd ever been," Dea Millerberg recalled. But after a while, her mood turned. Alexis became disoriented, Dea Millerberg testified. She was shaky and complained of cold.

"The drug will do that to you," Dea testified.

Alexis took a bath, after which Eric Millerberg helped her onto the couples' bed.

The Millerbergs went out to their porch to smoke in the night. When they came back, the girl wasn't breathing.

Dea Millerberg was, at the time, a licensed nurse, and she began performing CPR, chest compressions and rescue breaths. She tried to clear the girl's airway of vomit.

Alexis never responded.

In a panic, the Millerbergs weighed their options, Dea said.

"We'll lose our kids. We'll go to jail," she said. "There was nothing we could do at this point to bring her back."

They decided to hide her body.

Dea Millerberg dressed the girl. They put her body in a "footlocker" and put that into the trunk of their car.

By then, their two children were awake. The couple put their baby in the car and left their 6-year-old at home.

Dea Millerberg said that as they drove, they decided not to take Alexis to a hospital, because there were cameras. They traveled remote parts of Weber County before stopping somewhere in Weber Canyon. The woman couldn't remember exactly whe

When police came looking for Alexis, the Millerbergs said she had left around midnight to meet a friend at a nearby school.

Eventually members of Millerberg's own gang, Silent Aryan Warriors, broke the case for police. "Even they were disgusted by the conduct," prosecutor Chris Shaw said.

One gang member led to another, a man named Eric Smith. The night after the Millerbergs dumped the girl's body, Eric Millerberg and Smith returned to the spot, Smith testified Monday. They put the girl in garbage bags and dragged her another 20 yards from the road. They tried to dig a hole, but the ground was too hard so they left her in some willows by a pond.

Eric Smith was given immunity for his help. Prosecutors said it was the only way to solve the case.

It was Oct. 18 before Eric Smith took police to the now-badly decomposed body.

Behind her exposed ribs, her heart had disappeared.

Police found her in a contorted position, on her knees with her thighs pressed against her chest.

It would take weeks before medical experts could positively identify the remains, but North Ogden Police Detective Mike Tribe said he knew early.

He saw long blond hair, an ankle bracelet and neon-green toenail polish. He saw her face.

"Based on hours of looking at her photograph, in my opinion it was her teeth," he said. "It was her smile."

afalk@sltrib.com