The lurid details of Heather Miller’s story became a media obsession. A stay-at-home mother of four children, she concocted a plan to copy a plot from a rom-com movie to poison her husband. Top this plot off with witchcraft, a lesbian tryst, and some threesomes … and it’s not hard to see why her trial riveted the nation.
Heather was born in 1974 and grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. Her mother was a waitress and her father left when she was an infant. Heather battled depression and attempted suicide when she was 13, according to “Snapped.”
Soon after, her mom moved Heather and her infant baby sister to Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The town was beautiful but very remote with not a lot to do for a young girl.
“When I was 14, she moved us up here,” Heather told “Snapped.” “I had no friends. Didn’t know anybody in the area. New school, the whole nine yards.”
Before long Heather dropped out of school. She started working as a waitress, and that’s where she met her first boyfriend at 17 years old. Soon she became pregnant and had a daughter. The boyfriend eventually fell out of the picture and Heather met a guy named Kevin Miller at work. Kevin was six years older than she, went to college, and had a year in the military before moving to the reserves in a nearby county. Kevin worked hard, doing a 9 to 5 at a bank and then waiting tables on the weekends.
Heather and her daughter moved in with Kevin and he supported the family. Two years later, in 1995, they got married. Kevin eventually adopted Heather's daughter, according to Heather. Soon after they had their first child together and Kevin got a house large enough to accommodate their expanding family. The home was in a tight-knit community, and the Miller’s soon started meeting their neighbors. One of them was Mindi Robbins, a 29-year-old stay at home mom. She and Heather became best friends. Heather and Mindi continued to befriend other local mothers and they all began to hang out in a group. Heather and Kevin had two more kids together as well, making Heather a mother of four. But home life was a bit troubled.
Kevin had lost his job and was now working two jobs five days a week just to get by. According to People Magazine, Kevin was working up to 80 hours a week and this was taking a toll on the marriage. Heather and Kevin were fighting frequently and Mindi heard a lot about how Heather was lonely and growing depressed. Kevin told People that she “basically became a zombie” and she had neglected the house. “I’d come home and completely lose my temper with her. I’d trash the house and expect her to clean it back up," Kevin said.
In 2000, Heather, inspired by the film "Practical Magic," went to a New Age shop and bought herself a “banishment spell,” Mindi told “Snapped.” A reporter for The Morning Call told “Snapped” that the spell was “to drive him out of the house, shield her from his wrath and cast him out.” Heather actually went to a nearby lake and cast her magic spell, but to her disappointment Kevin was still home when she returned.
Since that didn't work, she turned to the exact method used in the movie "Practical Magic," using a plant called Belladonna—which is one of the oldest known poisons, and is what many believe Juliet drank in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. After looking around, Heather found a very diluted version at a health store sold as a homeopathic remedy for poor sleep. Heather bought it and the next day crushed a hundred pills into a powder. Mindi told “Snapped" that Heather's plan was to slip it into Kevin's food. Mindi insisted Heather just divorce Kevin rather than try to poison him. Mindi was never charged or implicated in any way with what happens in this story.
On April 2nd, 2000, Heather walked across the street to her friend Diane’s house. Diane was part of their mom hangout crew. Diane told “Snapped” that Heather said to her: “I’m going to kill Kevin.” On Diane’s porch, 26-year-old Heather told her the whole plan. Diane said to “Snapped:” “She held up a vial, and I read it, and it said Belladonna…. She told me, ‘I’ve researched it. He’ll drop dead from a heart attack.’ Diane continued saying, “She would try to call him at around two o’clock in the morning and not get an answer, go to the job, find him dead, act all distraught and carry on and everything else, and that would be the end of it.”
Heather wanted Diane to hold on to the poison for a couple of days so Kevin wouldn’t find it. But Diane wasn’t going to go down for being involved with Heather’s plot. She immediately went inside and called Mindi, who acknowledged she knew what was going down. Diane insisted that they call the police. Diane made the call to authorities and Mindi went down to the station to tell police what was going on.
The police were interested but needed hard evidence. Without any time to waste, police put a body wire on Mindi and sent her to Heather’s house. The wire recording damaging details about Heather's plan—including that she was making the poison that night, that it was going in his mashed potatoes, and that she would try it again if it didn't kill him the first time.
Heather was arrested shortly after this conversation.
Kevin opened up to “Snapped” about what police said when he received a call at his work: “I get a phone call while I’m at the part time job, you know, telling me that, that they have her in custody. And they didn’t tell me for what. They just simply, you know, said, you know, ‘We need you to come home.’”
By the time the trial came around, people in the courthouse were in for a big surprise. When Heather arrived, the doors to the court opened with Heather and Kevin walking in hand-in-hand.
Kevin had forgiven his wife, telling People Magazine: “There’s nobody who knows her better than I do, and I know in my heart she would never have gone through with this.” Kevin was standing beside his wife but she still faced significant charges.
A former assistant district attorney told “Snapped” that Heather was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and solicitation to commit murder. The former assistant district attorney pointed out that the “maximum potential sentence could be as much as eighty years.” The prosecutor told the jury that despite Kevin standing there she clearly took steps towards trying to kill him and played the tapes to prove it.
Heather’s defense team attempted to place some of the blame on Mindi, unsuccessfully. The defense claimed Mindi got involved because she was jealous. The former assistant district attorney said: “Mindi testified that she had a sexual relationship with Heather Miller.”
“I had had female relationships before…,” Mindi told “Snapped.” “We just ended up getting together one night.”
And there was more: Threesomes between Mindi, Heather and “younger guys in the neighborhood,” according to what Diane told “Snapped.”
“When I came along and kind of introduced her into that, you know, bad-girl world, she kind of jumped at it,” Mindi told “Snapped.”
So why didn’t Heather just get a divorce and live a single lifestyle?
According to the prosecution, she wanted Kevin’s $750,000 life insurance policy. People Magazine reported: “She also told others of her plans for Kevin’s potential $750,000 life insurance payout—part of which she intended to spend on an elaborate funeral for him.” People Magazine also reported that “she had in the past talked about cutting his brake line and hiring a hit man.”
When Heather eventually took the stand she wore a pink suit and had braids with a bow on the end. Heather testified that her marriage was not good but the murder plot was only fantasy like her magic spells. A reporter for The Morning Call told “Snapped:” “She said it was a lot of talk. She was making this plan with her girlfriends, kind of having fun, kind of having this little fantasy. She was not planning on going through with this.” Heather said she never meant to carry it out but Mindi was pressuring her. Mindi told Snapped, "She was blaming me for coming up with the plan. She was blaming me for wanting him out of the picture." But Heather claimed she backed out at the last minute.
According to People Magazine, “12 jurors needed just three hours to conclude what Kevin still refuses to accept: that Heather, 26, planned to poison him.” According to The Morning Call: “Miller was convicted of attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder, aggravated assault and simple assault.” Heather’s lawyers asked for leniency, and the judge sentenced her to 4.5-10 years.
Her children were the ages of 2, 3, 5 and 9. Heather said: “I wasn’t the only one doing that five years. My kids did it. Kevin did it.”
As for Kevin, he continued to support his wife.
“Every six to eight weeks, I would make the trek out there with the kids to, you know, spend time with their mother,” said Kevin to “Snapped.” “I was just looking to try and, and keep the family together.”
Heather told People Magazine: “In one aspect I love him for it. But in the same breath he must be completely insane.”
Despite the effort, the marriage ended in divorce when they broke up in 2007. Kevin told “Snapped:” “Other than the fact that I provided a sense of normalcy for the kids, everything that I had done was for nothing.”
After the trial, Heather did not speak to Mindi again.
“I hope she's well, and I hope that, that she has moved on in a positive life and done something awesome with herself,” said Mindi. “But I, I do wish her well."
[Photo: Oxygen Screengrab]
Searching for the best true crime podcasts? Subscribe to Martinis & Murder and join hosts Daryn Carp and John Thrasher as they chat about creepy crimes and unsolved mysteries... while sipping on killer drinks from our murderous mixologist Matt the Bartender. Each episode will focus on a new true crime, with all the gory details, and a cocktail recipe to get you through.