In an audio recording played by prosecutors Tuesday, Alexander Valley murder suspect Jarrod Miller admitted he tossed his gun out the window of his speeding Suburban, then led deputies to the discarded weapon.
The recording came in a pre-trial hearing for Miller, 30, who is accused of gunning down his sister's boyfriend, Tim Neuer, on March 8.
It begins with the voice of Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Beau Martin, one of three deputies to stop Miller on Old Redwood Highway minutes after the shooting was reported.
After finding an empty pistol box in the SUV, Martin urges Miller to tell him where he threw the gun so children don't find it and hurt themselves.
“OK. So no kid finds the gun, I'm going to tell you where it's at,” Miller said on the recording, made in the back seat of a patrol car near the intersection of Limerick Lane. “It's about maybe two or 300 feet that way.”
“Thanks, dude,” Martin responded.
After Miller described throwing it “Frisbee style” out the passenger window, deputies walked north along the highway and found the Ruger .380 lying near the shoulder.
Prosecutors believe it is the same gun Miller used to kill Neuer after a confrontation in his living room that night.
Witnesses at a preliminary hearing said Miller showed up, demanded to see Neuer and then shot him three times. Miller's sister tried to intervene but he pushed her away.
Miller's lawyer, Joe Bisbiglia, challenged the admissibility of his client's recorded conversation. Bisbiglia argued deputies didn't have sufficient reason to stop Miller and that he was not advised of his rights before questioning.
But prosecutor Scott Jamar argued deputies weren't required to read Miller his so-called Miranda rights because they were acting under a public safety exception. He cited case law supporting the position.
Judge Ken Gnoss ruled in favor of prosecutors. He said the concerns were legitimate and found Miller's statements weren't coerced.
“In listening to this it seems clear it was for the purposes of public safety,” Gnoss ruled.
Miller retracted a previous insanity plea but is expected to make mental illness an issue during the trial.
District Attorney Jill Ravitch, who is trying the case along with Jamar, appeared in the courtroom at various times Tuesday. She said the trial is expected to take a month. Jury selection begins Wednesday.
“I think the case will move quickly once we get past the jury,” Ravitch told the judge.