North Fort Myers murder trial gets a quick do-over. Judge declares mistrial after early testimony. A mistrial was declared in the trial of William Foley Miller; the case will start over with a new jury today.
Miller, 48, faces up to life in prison if convicted of killing Robin Renee Metcalf, 43, Oct. 2, 2007, at the Days Inn in North Fort Myers. Attorneys took three hours to select a jury and introduced three witnesses before the mistrial was declared. Vicente Macias, of Lee County Emergency Medical Services, was testifying about his call to the scene that night and his attempt to resuscitate Metcalf, who had no pulse when firefighters arrived. He testified he asked Miller how long Metcalf had been dead and said he heard no response.
The attorneys for Miller – David Brener and Tracey Redd – argued outside of the jury’s presence that Macias’ testimony implied that Miller refused to answer the question, though there was no testimony he’d even heard the question. The U.S. Constitution guarantees a person’s right to remain silent, which the attorneys said was violated and asked for a mistrial. “The jury could speculate that he didn’t want to answer,” Brener said. “I commend the judge. He didn’t want to take any chances.” Prosecutors couldn’t comment on the mistrial because Miller will be retried before a new jury today, Assistant State Attorney Francine Donnorummo said. Assistant State Attorney Orion Wright is also trying the case.
According to testimony Wednesday, Miller called the desk manager at the hotel to request a 911 call about 8:15 p.m. “He said, ‘She tried to kill me – the (expletive) tried to kill me,'” desk manager Alisha Ray buck testified about what she said she heard Miller say. “‘She hit me with a beer bottle.'” When firefighters arrived at Room 232 of the hotel, firefighter Ron Beecroft testified, Miller looked out from the curtain and let them inside. There, they found a second man, James Nunemaker, passed out and Metcalf mostly naked with only an article of lingerie around her waist. She was sitting on the floor, slumped over with a belt wrapped around her neck, Beecroft said.
Beecroft testified he heard Miller say he acted in self-defense, which is Miller’s defense at trial. “‘She’s a crack whore,'” Beecroft testified Miller said in the room. “‘She tried to kill me, so I killed her.'” Paramedics tried to save Metcalf, whose pulse was restored for seven minutes, but she later died.