Framed By A Burned Tyre

Forty five years ago, a housewife named Lucille Miller, who just turned 35, came to trial in San Bernardino for the murder of her husband, a dentist Gordon “Cork” Miller. It was a sensation, and not only because Lucille Miller was pregnant when it began, but also because she admitted that “at one time” she wanted to marry Attorney Arthwell Hayton, who in previous testimony admitted to secret motel meetings with her.

Cork Miller burned to death in the back seat of a 1964 Volkswagen. Lucile intended to make the murder look as if the car had rolled over an embankment and burst into flames. She would have had time in that deserted neighborhood to get home before the accident was reported. Instead, the car got stuck in the sand in low gear, and burst into flames. Mrs. Miller was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, but released after seven years.

Above, Lucille Miller and her attorney Edward Foley go over transcript of her murder trial on February 17, 1965–the second day of the trial. Her defense claimed that the accident was caused by the burnt tire seen above. The photo was taken by John Malmin for LA Times.

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