Elwood woman sentenced on Attempted Murder charge

Elwood woman sentenced on Attempted Murder charge
Courtesy/ Dawson County Sheriff’s Office. Valerie Miller.
February 23rd, 2024 | Dave Schroeder

A 41-year-old Elwood woman was sentenced in Dawson County District Court Friday after pleading guilty to a charge of Attempted 1st Degree Murder. A second charge of Attempted First Degree Murder against Valerie Miller was previously dismissed. District Judge Patrick Heng ordered Miller to serve from 18 years to 20 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. She was given credit for 507 days already served.

The case stems from a Nebraska State Patrol investigation into Miller’s attempt to obtain a gun. The investigation culminated on October 3, 2022 with a meeting between her and an undercover investigator in a Lexington parking lot. According to her arrest affidavit, Miller wanted to purchase a revolver for protection purposes. But, as the conversation continued Miller allegedly stated that she wanted several people to be “not living”. Miller then agreed to a price for two adults with the undercover investigator and provided information as to their locations and general activities. Miller was taken into custody a short time later and booked in the Dawson County Jail.

At Friday’s sentencing, Dawson County Attorney Liz Waterman said that as part of the plea agreement, the State would not seek more than 20 years imprisonment. Waterman said a period of incarceration was appropriate because of the seriousness of the offense. She continued that the State Patrol did an “excellent job of intercepting the plan”, which was initially to buy a firearm to kill people. The intended targets of Ms. Miller included five individuals. Waterman said that “had it not been for the investigator redirecting Ms. Miller to change her thoughts or plan about killing three small children there would have been potentially five people who lost their lives as a result of her plan. Again your honor, had the State Patrol not acted quickly and intercepted and interrupted this plan we could be looking at a very different situation right now.”

Defense Attorney Ken Harbison said his client was “understanding of the seriousness of the situation” and also understood that she was likely to be sentenced to prison. He asked Judge Heng to take note of her psychological evaluation which indicated she had a very low intelligence quotient. He contended she didn’t go to that meeting with a purpose of hiring a hitman and described her as “easily manipulated”. He asked the Judge to have mercy for her but, was hopeful she would gain the resources to assist her in prison.


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