Perry Steven Miller | Torturer, Kidnapper, Rapist, Killer

He Seemed Like Such a Nice Guy

Perry Steven Miller was a former bakery delivery driver whose route included his victim’s place of work. The defence called his parents, a social worker, and friends to testify to his non-violent and sensitive nature.

Perry Steven Miller, torturer

Christel Helmchen

At only 19 and living in Indiana, Christel dreamt of becoming a teacher. But to afford the tuition she needed a job and took employment at the convenience store come restaurant in her hometown of Valparaiso. This was where she was abducted from on the night of November 4th 1990 in her own car. Bound and gagged, she was spread-eagled on a cross made of timbers and brutally raped, stabbed, and eventually killed with a sawn-off shotgun.

The Investigation

Once the scene was closed off officers found blood-covered building materials which they sent for testing. Footprints that could have casts taken as well as tire marks left at the scene. They discovered that at least two vehicles had been at the scene and one was the victim’s own vehicle. The body was sent for autopsy and hair and blood samples taken. Then the interviews began. And it wasn’t long before Christel’s car was found. It seemed that the perpetrators had dumped Christel’s car before stealing a second for their escape.

Investigators found that the abduction had been well planned and suspected the ringleader had a criminal record.

Finding William Harmon and Rodney Wood in the stolen truck, the pair were brought in for questioning. Wood was eager to talk. Accusing Harmon’s stepfather, Perry Steven Miller, of planning the whole thing.

When Miller was brought in for questioning, they discovered that he had also been paroled for a kidnapping, sodomy, and rape in 1988, serving almost 20 years in prison.

Perry Steven Miller Admitted his Guilt in 2001

Miller then beat her with a 2 X 4 and stuck her with an ice pick in the thigh and breast. –

Until 2001 Miller had maintained his not guilty stance. And his attorney told the court Miller was at home during the incident and that his wife would confirm it. She said that she had rung their house from her work and there was no way Miller could have committed the crime and been back in time to take that call.

A clerk testified that Miller tried to purchase deer slug ammo the day before the incident but the hardware store had been out and he’d got angry when asked what he wanted to shoot.

On June 2nd, 1991, Perry Steven Miller was given the Death Penalty but no execution date set. He also received a 220-year prison sentence for the related convictions of rape, robbery, criminal confinement, and deviate conduct.

His admission of guilt in 2001 saved him from the death penalty but resulted in a 138-year sentence. Perry Miller will not be eligible for parole until he was 112.

True Crime, Debardeleben

P.S. I first saw the story of Perry Steven Miller in Headquarters Detective (September 1992) written by Howard and Mary Stevens. As you can see I have a few of these magazines kicking about so if you’re missing any, let me know which ones.

P.P.S. Read about Serial Killer here