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Utah man admits killing roommate

First Published      Last Updated Jul 23 2014 09:04 pm

A Vernal man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge in connection with the beating and strangulation death of his roommate last year.

Christopher Codi Andersen, 29, was charged two months ago with first-degree felony murder in the July 6, 2013, death of 53-year-old Christopher Miller.

On Wednesday, Andersen pleaded guilty to second-degree felony manslaughter.

He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 14 by 8th District Judge Edwin Peterson.

According to charging documents, a neighbor at the victim's apartment building, at 1350 W. 150 North, called police on July 6, 2013, reporting that someone may have burglarized the condominium and that there might be a dead body inside. When police went inside, they found Miller's body in the living room amidst the aftermath of a struggle, charges state. Items were overturned and broken, and food from Sonic restaurant was spilled.

Miller's body showed wounds with markings that matched a piece of a broken ceramic statute that was found under his body.

An autopsy later revealed that Miller died of "manual strangulation and blunt force trauma," according to police.

Police said at the time that Miller's roommate was a person of interest in the case but did not name him.

Charges state that Andersen had been living with Miller, who Andersen described as his boss. Andersen was in the parking lot when police arrived and claimed he "did not know what happened" and that he was not the one who "did it," according to charges.

Andersen later said he and Miller had been drinking the night before, and Andersen woke up to find the mess in the living room. He said there had been no dispute between them.

But another friend said Miller and Andersen were fighting during a trip to the Sonic restaurant the night before, police wrote. Later that month, another friend of Andersen told police that Andersen spoke of a fight with Miller that occurred the night before his body was found, investigators wrote.

According to Vernal police, the arrest came so long after the death because investigators were waiting for forensic analysis from the state crime lab. Andersen's DNA was found under Miller's fingernails, and Miller's blood was found on the shirt Andersen was wearing, police wrote. After final results were received in May, police obtained an arrest warrant for Andersen.

Police officials have said Andersen was incarcerated for much of the last year on unrelated charges, and that investigators had kept a close eye on his whereabouts while awaiting the evidence needed to make the arrest.

According to Utah court records, Andersen was arrested shortly after Miller's death and was charged with failure to register as a sex offender and unlawful purchase by an interdicted person. In November, he pleaded guilty to the failure to register charge and the other count was dismissed. An 8th District Court judge suspended a prison sentence in favor of probation.

Andersen was convicted in 2011 of wrongful appropriation and intoxication. And in 2003, he was convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He served 90 days in jail for that offense.


Twitter: @jm_miller