SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Court of Appeals rejected a North Ogden man’s request that his conviction be overturned in connection with the disappearance and drug overdose death of a 16-year-old babysitter.
In a ruling issued Saturday night, the appeals court denied all of Eric Millerberg’s claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Millerberg is serving up to life in prison for the 2011 death of Alexis Rasmussen.
She vanished from the couple’s home after going over to babysit. At trial, it was revealed Millerberg and his wife, Dea, had been engaging in sexual conduct with the girl and giving her drugs. Millerberg was convicted of giving her a combination of heroin and methamphetamine. When she overdosed and died, Weber County prosecutors said he put her body in a garbage bag and dumped it off I-84 in Morgan County.
After an extensive community search, her decomposed remains were found 38 days later. A jury convicted Millerberg at trial. His wife struck a plea deal and is also serving prison time.
In his appeal, Millerberg claimed his lawyer did not present evidence to bolster his claim he didn’t kill Rasmussen because he was using the computer at the time, and did not address media coverage of the case ahead of trial.
In a unanimous decision, the appeals court judges were not persuaded.
“Millerberg has presented no evidence, or argument, that any one of the jurors was actually biased against him,” they wrote.
Millerberg also claimed there was insufficient evidence to show how Rasmussen died or that he injected the girl with drugs, causing her death. Again, the court rejected his claims.
“The reasonable inference, however, is that Millerberg injected the syringe into Victim, particularly in light of Victim’s lack of experience with intravenous drug use. In addition, Millerberg admitted to a cellmate that he had injected Victim with drugs. In sum, there was sufficient evidence that Millerberg injected Victim to survive a motion for directed verdict on that issue,” the court wrote.