Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 29, 2014

Sister testifies in tattoo parlor owner's murder

By SCOTT WEISSER
THE GOSHEN NEWS

— By SCOTT WEISSER

scott.weisser@goshennews.com

GOSHEN — The murder trial of Todd Stewart, 36, Bristol entered its second day Tuesday in Elkhart Circuit Court.

Stewart is accused of shooting and killing Dunlap tattoo shop owner Mark Miller in September 2012. Prosecutors say that after murdering Miller, Stewart placed the victim’s body in a barrel and dumped the barrel in the St. Joseph River.

Miller’s sister, Dawn Miller, testified for about an hour Tuesday morning in the Goshen courthouse. She described a close relationship with her brother.

“We talked every day,” Miller said.

Miller said she last spoke to her brother Sept. 7, 2012 — the night prosecutors say the shop owner was murdered. Dawn Miller said she and Mark had planned to meet the next day. Mark never showed up. Dawn reported her brother missing to police Sept. 10.

After her brother disappeared, Miller said, Stewart showed her a document. Stated in the contract was that if Miller ever disappeared or died, ownership of the tattoo shop went to Stewart.

“Lies,” she said on the witness stand as she reviewed the contract. Miller indicated her brother’s name on the document is not how he would have signed it.

Mark Miller’s attorney, Ben Pfaff, also testified Tuesday.

“I feel like I was pretty active in (Miller’s) life,” he said. Pfaff also said he didn’t prepare the contract, later adding that he feels the document doesn’t have any merit at all.

Jurors also heard from Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department Detective Jeremy Stout. Stout recounted that during a police interview, Stewart spoke of Miller in the past tense. The interview took place shortly after Miller disappeared, and before his body was found.

Testimony was set to resume Tuesday afternoon.