OGDEN, Utah — A jury Friday found a Utah man guilty of child abuse homicide in the death of a teenage baby sitter who prosecutors say died after the man gave her a lethal dose of drugs during a night of drugs and sex that also included the man's wife.
The eight jurors reached their verdict about two hours after they were given the case. Eric Millerberg, 38, was also found guilty of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, obstruction of justice and desecration of a dead body in the 2011 death of Alexis Rasmussen, 16.
Sentencing was set for March 18.
During a three-day trial, prosecutors brought detectives, medical examiners, prisoners and Millerberg's wife, Dea Millerberg, to the stand to show that he recklessly injected Rasmussen with lethal doses of heroin and methamphetamine during a night of drugs and sex that also included his wife. Prosecutors told jurors that Eric Millerberg and his wife then dumped her body in the woods of northern Utah while lying to police as the girl's mother desperately searched for her for more than a month.
Dea Millerberg, 40, is awaiting her own criminal trial in April on charges of desecration of a body. She testified against her husband during the trial.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith started his closing argument Friday by showing the jury a picture of a smiling Rasmussen holding her little sister about one year before her death. Then, he showed a picture of her dead body covered by a muddy piece of foam in the woods of northern Utah.
Smith said the Millerbergs dumped her there, "discarded like a piece of trash," and then lied to police for more than a month about her whereabouts.
Smith called Eric Millerberg's actions with Rasmussen deplorable, saying he had supplied her with drugs and had sex on previous occasions as well, later bragging to fellow prisoners that he partied with teenage girls. Smith reminded the jury that laws exist to protect teens who are prone to experimenting and making mistakes when they aren't with their parents.