Donald Gene Miller


Donald Gene Miller

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1977 - 1978
Date of birth: December 28, 1954
Victims profile: Women (including his former fiancee)
Method of murder: ???
Location: East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to 30-50 years for rape and attempted murder of surviving victims, 1978. Sentenced to 15 years in prison on plea bargain to voluntary manslaughter on May 31, 1979

A prisoner in the Jackson State Prison in Michigan, At age 23 Don confessed to four rape-murders -- including the murder of his former fiancee -- from 1977 to 1978 in and around East Lansing, Michigan.

He was arrested while attempting his 5th rape-murder. In exchange for leading prosecutors to the bodies of his four victims, the charges against him were reduced to only manslaughter.

In 1979, Miller -- a college graduate in criminal justice who was diagnosed as mentally ill before his trial -- was sentenced to 30-to-50-years in the big house.

Fortunately for the rest of us Donald will not be out of prison until 2018. Though he could have been released in February after earning ten years off for good behavior, a Michigan judge deemed he's still too dangerous to be released.

Donald Gene Miller

The case that triggered the bill involved confessed serial killer Donald Miller. In 1979, Miller got a 10- to 15-year sentence after pleading guilty to a count of manslaughter in connection with the slaying of one woman. He was also given a 30- to 50-year sentence after pleading guilty to raping a woman and attempting to murder her brother.

Miller was suspected of killing three other women in 1977 and 1978 and hiding their bodies, but prosecutors never had enough evidence to charge him with the additional slayings and couldn't find the corpses. In return for his plea-bargained sentence, he led investigators to the bodies of the three women he had killed, authorities say.

Miller had served the maximum amount of prison time required under the state's old laws and could have not been denied parole this year, authorities said. The only way to keep Miller incarcerated was to have the prison warden take the unusual step of revoking Miller's "good time" credits, or, as happened, convict him of another crime.

Miller was convicted and handed an additional 20- to 40-year prison term based on an incident in 1994. Guards then said they found what they described as a cord-like device in his cell that could have been used to strangle someone. Prosecutors and victims' rights advocates used this incident to keep Miller behind bars.

Mom leads charge

The leader of the campaign to keep Miller in prison was Sue Young, the mother of one of Miller's victims. She also has pushed for the violent predator bill.

"I don't think our founding fathers meant to have serial killers out walking our streets," Young told

Her daughter, Martha Sue Young, was Miller's first victim. Martha Sue Young and Miller once dated. Sue Young said Miller was a "friend of the family," frequently at the Young home and even attending the same church.

"But please, do not call him a gentleman or say he is a Christian," she said.

Donald Gene Miller

August 31, 1999

Current Sentence: 30 to 50 years, manslaughter, assault and rape; 20 to 40 years, prisoner in possession of a weapon

Age: 44

Possible parole date: 2018

Rap Sheet: Miller has been convicted of two counts of manslaughter, one count of assault with intent to commit murder, one count of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree with a weapon and once for being a prisoner in possession of a weapon.

Over a 20-month period between 1977 and 1978, Miller killed four women, raped another and attempted to kill a man, prosecutors say. While serving a 30- to 50-year prison sentence for these crimes, he became eligible for parole.

However, prosecutors and community activists, concerned that Miller could be released, used a 1994 incident report in which prison guards reportedly found a strangling device in his cell. Miller was prosecuted on a charge of being a prisoner possessing a weapon and given an additional 20- to 40-year prison sentence.

Miller, Donald Gene

A graduate in criminal justice from Michigan State University, Don Miller was also diagnosed by court psychiatrists as a paranoid psychotic and a religious fanatic. In 1978, at age 23, he was convicted of raping a teenager in Lansing, attempting to kill both the girl and her brother.

The sentence on that rap was 30 to 50 years in state prison, but Miller was not finished, yet. In custody, during July 1979, he confessed to the murders of his fiancee and three other East Lansing women, striking a plea bargain that earned him another fifteen years on charges of voluntary manslaughter.

Accepting his sentence on August 29, 1979, Miller told the court, "I'm deeply sorry for what has happened. I wish I could undo what has been done."

Miller, Donald Gene



DATE(S): 1978

VENUE: Lansing, Mich.

VICTIMS: Four confessed

MO: Rapist who killed his fiancée and three other women

DISPOSITION: 30-50 years for rape and attempted murder of surviving victims, 1978; 15 years on plea bargain to voluntary manslaughter, 1979.

Donald Gene Miller