August marks the 38th anniversary of the arrest of a Michigan serial killer.
In the late 1970s Don Miller victimized five women, killing four of them. One of those women was a Port Huron native.
Back then, investigators did not have enough evidence to convict Miller, so he stuck a plea deal, leading police to the bodies. In return, Miller is now eligible for parole.
Inside a picture frame, Ken Guske still has the printed poem, his oldest daughter Kristine Guske Stuart, known as Kris, wrote for his birthday decades ago about life.
She was well liked and even loved by many in her native Port Huron town.
“She was a school teacher. Grew up in this community,” said high school friend Pat Cogley. “Well respected well loved by the community. Their family has been in this community all of their lives.”
While her poem about life sounded like someone who loved a long fulfilling one, Kris’s life was cut way too short.
At just 30-years-old, Kris was taken away from her loving husband and family in the late 1970s.
She was murdered in cold blood, by serial killer Don Miller, while she was living in Lansing. Back then Miller told police he thought Kris was his girlfriend who had been his first victim.
Kris was his last murder victim.
His 5th victim, a 14-year-old girl, survived after she was sexually assaulted.
Meanwhile, Kris’s death devastated loved ones.
“Everybody was just devastated,” said Cogley. “You know, you know somebody… just can’t believe it’s gonna happen to them.”
In 1979, Miller struck a plea deal which meant he would serve time in prison, but he did not get life behind bars.
“I think people were upset about it because they know that he had killed these four women, but the reality was that I guess there wasn’t enough evidence to convict of the four murders and then within the four hours of the plea bargain apparently he led them to all four bodies so obviously he was the one that did it,” said Cogley.
Now that Miller is up for parole this month, it is a threat loved ones cannot bear.
“He’s a threat to society. Nobody should have to go through what any of us have had to go through,” said Jackie Guske, Kris’s sister in law.
“The public safety issue,” said Cogley. “If this guy gets out nobody is safe for this especially girls.”
Cogley is one of several that is circulating a petition, gathering signatures to send the Michigan Department of Corrections to stop that from happening.
“He has ruined the life of a lot of people and he killed people he didn’t know for unknown reasons. He is a danger to society. The only comfort that we have is knowing he is behind bars,” said Jackie Guske.
Several letters have been sent to the MDOC as well pleading with the parole board to keep Miller locked up, including from State Attorney General Bill Shuette who wrote, “The horrifying details of his crimes alone are sufficient reason to keep Miller behind bars. Over the course of 20 months Miller murdered four women including his fiance. Miller strangled three of his victims and stabbed the fourth one 17 times.”
Kris’s parents also sent a letter stating, “Kristine’s murder was an unnecessary and heinous crime. Miller alone is personally responsible for her murder and creating an enormous loss within the family. There is no excuse for Miller’s actions, and the comfort we have is knowing that Donald miler is incarcerated where he cannot harm anyone else.”
Kris’s high school friend, Pat Cogley is one of many circulating petitions to send to the MDOC to prevent an early release for Miller.
According to the MDOC, Miller’s earliest release date was October 201,8 but the Court of Appeals pushed up his timeline for parole.
If the parole board agrees to grant him parole, he would have to next get approval from two circuit court judges.