Twelve witnesses testified at the trial of Michael Brandon Kelley, 29, of Moody, who is accused of the Nov. 16, 2008 capital murder and sexual torture of Emily Milling, 23, of Leeds.
William Lloyd, of Anniston, testified he was with Milling and some friends the night she disappeared.
“Crystal and Emily were getting ready at the house (Milling’s) and they were taking pictures and wanted me in them,” he said. “Me, Crystal, and Emily left Emily’s house in her vehicle with her driving and went to Bobby’s house and picked him up.”
Lloyd said the four went to the Dew Drop Inn in Margaret, where they spent about 20 minutes, then went to the Central Club in Leeds, where they arrived around 11-11:30 p.m.
Lloyd testified he saw Kelley and Milling talking at the club.
“I felt they knew each other,” he said. “They talked about 15-20 minutes, then Emily came back to me and Bobby with Brandon beside her. Emily gave Bobby her car keys and said, ‘I’ll be back in 20 minutes—I’m going to Dae-Dae’s house.’”
Lloyd testified Milling took her driver’s license with her, but left her keys and purse in her car.
“Me and Bobby waited about one-and-a-half hours, but I wasn’t concerned at first because I knew she was smart,” he said. “We worried when the bar closed, and she wasn’t back.”
Lloyd testified they waited outside the bar after it closed, but Milling never returned.
He said the next day he took Milling’s car to where Kelley lived and spoke with Kelley.
“I asked Brandon where Emily was,” Lloyd said. “He said, ‘I dropped her off at Dae-Dae’s house.’”
Lloyd testified Kelley appeared nervous.
“He sounded scared—kinda shaky,” Lloyd said.
Van Minor, manager of the Central Club, testified about the security cameras both inside and outside the club and identified Milling and Kelley on the security camera tape leaving the club on foot heading toward the parking lot, but could not positively state he saw them get in a vehicle.
Stephen Cook, a security officer for the Central Club the day Milling disappeared, also testified he saw Kelley and Milling exit the club walking side-by-side, but did not see them get in a vehicle.
David Heath, Kelley’s cousin who had also dated Milling in the past, testified Kelley came by earlier that evening before going out. He said his pit bull, Bruce, barked the entire time Kelley and his friends were there, and also later that night for approximately 30 minutes.
“Bruce was carrying on so I peeked out the window and saw the parking lights on Brandon’s truck,” he said.
Heath said he could not tell who or how many people were in Kelley’s vehicle, a green Chevrolet Blazer.
He testified on Nov. 17, 2008, Kelley called him at work.
“I asked him where Emily was and he said he dropped her off in front of the Central Club,” Heath said.
Curtis Gomer, Kelley’s cousin, testified he saw Kelley place trash in the dumpster in the Moody business owned by Kelley’s father, where Gomer worked, the morning of Nov. 17, 2008.
“I saw blue ties sticking up out of the top of his hand,” Gomer said.
Gomer testified when he learned Milling’s nude body had been found on the Monday night news, he thought back to the dumpster.
“The next morning I picked up David (Heath) for work and I said I felt we needed to look in the dumpster,” he said.
Gomer testified he opened a garbage bag and found a bag inside a bag and a female shirt and boot.
“I put it back and called 911,” he said.
Ron Westmoreland, Milling’s employer, testified he helped organize a search for her that involved her family and some friends of his who had ATVs.
Stanley Vining, of Trussville, testified he helped search for Milling. He and another searcher looked along the left side of Markeeta Road for about 35-40 minutes before finding Milling’s nude body.
Larry Phillips, Milling’s father, testified the last time he saw his daughter was the afternoon she disappeared, and about the search he and some friends conducted looking for Milling.
Brandon Milling, Emily Milling’s husband, testified the couple had separated about two months prior to her disappearance.
“She moved to Leeds when we separated,” he said. “But she would stay at our house 1-2 days a week.”
Brandon Milling testified he helped search for his wife and also filed a missing person’s report with the Leeds Police Department.
Lisa St. John, a friend of the Millings, testified she was keeping their daughter, Faith, for the weekend when the victim disappeared.
“Emily would call often to check on Faith,” St. John said. “I was concerned late Friday when she had not called.”
Det. Aleisha Reannon Holman, with the Leeds Police Department, testified she observed Kelley’s vehicle at a business in Leeds, where she photographed and secured all the doors and openings before the vehicle was removed and taken to another location.
Holman also testified she obtained DNA swabs from Kelley Jan. 14, 2009.
London Pearce, a forensic scientist with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, testified about processing several locations related to the Millings case.
“The first location was Markeeta Road, where we found a white female lying off the road on her back with no clothing,” he said. “There was apparent trauma to the body.”
Pearce testified he photographed the entire area and collected evidence at that scene before Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences forensic investigator Chris Crowe transported the body to the Huntsville regional laboratory morgue.
After processing the Markeeta Road site, Pearce said he and forensic investigators Shane Golden and Mark Hopwood, who were also present, went to a garage in Moody where they processed a green Chevrolet Blazer.
“There were red-brown stains on the carpet in the back (of the Blazer),” he said. “We did a presumptive test for blood, which just tells if something is blood but not whether it is animal or human blood, and collected additional samples for lab testing.”
Pearce said he took five swabs for testing from different red-brown stains in the vehicle.
Pearce testified after the vehicle was processed, the forensics team went to a third location, Kelley’s residence.
“We went in and did swabs and collections,” he said.
Pearce testified there were red-brown stains on the hallway wall of Kelley’s mobile home as well as on the door.
“We did Luminal tests, which glows really bright if blood is there,” he said. “There were Luminal marks near the shower and a faint body outline and drag marks. There was also a hot spot going out the door.”
Pearce testified after they finished processing Kelley’s residence, the forensics team went to the Moody business Kelley’s father owns and processed the dumpster and trash bags.
Pearce’s testimony is expected to continue today at 8:30 a.m.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.