MAY 13, 2010

Gene Stuart stays on death row in child’s death 29 years ago

   Gene Francis Stuart, formerly of Orofino who has been on death row in the Idaho State Penitentiary since he was found guilty for the death in 1981 of Robert Miller, 3, has lost his fourth appeal for post-conviction relief.

   The child died of internal hemorrhaging after his liver was ruptured when struck in the abdomen by Stuart, who was babysitting him at the time at their home in Ahsahka.

   At the time of the death Stuart was living with the boy’s mother, Kathy Miller and had assumed a parental role over the boy.

   Miller had refused to eat his lunch when Stuart struck him in the abdomen. He put the boy down for a nap and Stuart said he later found him having trouble breathing. He took the boy to Clearwater Valley Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

   In 1982 Stuart was the first person in Idaho to be found guilty of murder by torture. A Moscow jury found him guilty after weeks of testimony by health care providers and several women testified of Stuart’s abuse.

   Pathologists testified they had found the boy suffered earlier from internal and external bruises, a subdural hematoma of the head and a broken left arm.

   Miller’s mother said she was not aware of the abuse and testified against Stuart. She was not charged.

   Stuart’s latest appeal was denied by the Idaho Supreme Court.

   In the original trial Stuart was represented by Robert Kinney. The case was prosecuted by Stephen Calhoun.

   Little Robbie Miller is buried in Riverside Cemetery with a headstone provided by Tommy Thompson and other caring persons in Orofino. A scholarship fund was also set up in Miller’s name.