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Born and raised in Memphis, Jacklyn Miller was known to family and friends as a woman who was fun, fashionable, and a whiz with hair.
After beauty school, Miller, 21, got a full-time job at a salon, where she worked hard and beamed with pride when she bought her first car, a green Mazda sedan. She was on the road to success.
But on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, Miller went missing. She didn’t show up for work. Miller’s mother called authorities on November 19, saying that she hadn’t heard from her for two days.
“She told us that it was very unusual that she hadn’t made contact with anyone,” Kevin Lundy, a retired homicide detective with the Memphis Police Department, told “In Ice Cold Blood,” hosted by Ice-T and airing Sundays at 7/6c and 8/7c on Oxygen.
Miller’s mother also told officials that her daughter was dating Richard Dickerson, whom she’d met in beauty school. Officials spoke with Dickerson on November 20, and he appeared “genuinely upset,” they told producers.
Asked by authorities if he had anything to do with Miller’s disappearance, Dickerson said no and claimed that he’d been with her mother all day Wednesday, November 17. He also mentioned that Miller had previously dated a man named Marcus, but didn’t know if she was still in touch with him.
As officials sought to find Marcus, they also searched for Miller’s car, which had vanished. Had she been the victim of a carjacking?
Scouring Miller’s social media sites, investigators learned that she was in touch with Marcus, who, they discovered, had done time for an aggravated assault charge.
Authorities questioned Marcus on November 22. Cooperative and concerned, he said that he had seen Miller on November 16 and had made plans to connect the next day, but that never happened.
A day later, on November 23, an anonymous CrimeStoppers caller told authorities that Miller’s car was at the Willow Creek Apartments, a mile from where Miller lived and worked.
Police located the car and saw her purse inside it, which told them that the vehicle hadn’t been stolen. A further search revealed Miller’s body was in the trunk. A rope was wrapped around her neck, blood was on her blouse, and her nails were broken.
The Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the case of death was strangulation and that she had died on or about November 17.
Investigators got a solid break when a Willow Creek security officer told them that he’d seen a man parking Miller’s car at the complex on November 17 around 4:30 p.m.
Detectives turned their focus to cell phone records and confirmed Marcus’ alibi that he had been home all day on November 17. He had been nowhere near the Willow Creek Apartments.
Miller’s cell phone trail revealed that she had been in front of Dickerson’s house on November 17. Officials didn’t know if Dickerson was actually at home when she got to his house. But shortly after that, her phone was turned off.
Dickerson went from a concerned boyfriend to a person of interest, investigators told producers. They needed “to hurry up and expedite Richard’s cell phone records,” Mundy Quinn, a retired homicide sergeant with the Memphis Police Department, told producers.
Yet another anonymous tip led authorities to a couple, Mike and Britney, who were friends of Dickerson’s, according to “In Ice Cold Blood.” The caller said they had information about Jacklyn’s murder.
Questioned by police, Mike told authorities that Dickerson suspected Miller of texting other men, said Patience “Missy” Branham, a former prosecutor with Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
But Mike and Britney denied having any knowledge of Miller's murder and were allowed to go on their way.
The Willow Creek guard was brought back in to view a photo lineup, said Quinn. The officer immediately identified Dickerson as the man who parked Miller’s car.
On November 24, authorities got access to Dickerson’s phone records. His phone was off most of November 17, the day she vanished, suggesting to officials that he was covering his tracks, they told producers.
Officials dug deep into the couple’s relationship and found that Dickerson had choked Miller. She had filed a police report against Dickerson and gotten a restraining order. “He had been arrested. This was not a match made in heaven. It was a match made in hell,” said Branham. Miller, friends told producers, hadn’t told them about this.
Dickerson’s alibi about being with her mother on November 17 fell apart when investigators spoke with her. Investigators later found that Dickerson had scribbled alibis on a sheet of paper in case he was asked questions.
On November 26, Dickerson was charged with first-degree murder.
With Dickerson in jail, investigators brought Britney in for a second interview. She said that she had overheard a phone call between Mike and Dickerson, and Dickerson confessed to the murder and hiding the car. She then said she was the tipster who called about the car being at the Willow Creek complex.
When the crime lab report came back, the blood on Miller’s shirt matched Dickerson’s.
In July 2012, Dickerson’s trial began. Prosecutors had a strong case of DNA evidence and witness statements. Dickerson, meanwhile, took the stand and claimed that he killed Miller in self-defense during an argument, reported actionnews5.com at the time.
Dickerson was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years without the possibility of parole.
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