PLATTE COUNTY, Mo., -- First-degree murder charges have been filed against a man who admitted to police he was high on meth when he killed two Edgerton, Mo., women. On Monday, Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd announced Clifford D. Miller, 31, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Ashley Key, 22, and her half-sister Britny Haarup, 19.
During a news conference, Platte County Sheriff Richard Anderson became emotional when relaying Miller's confession. Anderson said Miller told police he was high on meth when he went to Haarup's home in the early morning hours on Friday, July 13. According to Anderson, Miller said he entered the home around sun-up with the intention to have sex with Haarup. The pair had not been intimate before, but Miller said he found Haarup attractive and wanted to have sex with her.
Miller entered the home through an unlocked front door. He told police he was surprised to find Haarup's half-sister, Ashley Key, asleep on the couch. Miller said Key "challenged" him and asked him why he was in the home. Miller told police he didn't want Key to get him in trouble for being in the home so he hit her.
"Miller then punched and beat Ashley until she quit moving, and then he smothered her with a pillow," Anderson said during Monday's news conference.
Anderson said after killing Key, Miller's intention to have sex with Haarup turned into killing her. Anderson said Miller confessed to hitting Haarup over the head with a large stick-like object while she was still asleep in her bedroom. After hitting her, Miller told police he smothered her. According to the probable cause, after killing Haarup, Miller attempted to have sex with her but couldn't.
Anderson said Haarup's baby was asleep in the room when the attack happened. Miller told police he then took the baby to another room where he placed the baby in a crib with another child.
Following the attacks, Anderson said Miller smoked meth inside the home before transporting Haarup and Key's bodies to Haarup's Dodge Ram truck. Miller told police he then drove to a Clinton County farm near County Line Road in Edgerton, Mo., where he dumped their bodies near a tree line.
Miller was arrested without resistance at his girlfriend's home in Parkville on Sunday. Police would not say how Miller knew Haarup. Police said in addition to stealing Haarup's Dodge Ram truck, Miller also took four firearms, which he intended to sell. Police said he was successful in selling one, which police have recovered. Police also recovered one or two weapons from an area where Miller said he dumped them. At least one firearm remains missing.
First-degree murder charges
Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said first-degree murder charges in Missouri carry a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
"The investigation is still in the early stages," Zahnd said. "However, at the appropriate time, I will review the case to determine if the state will pursue the death penalty."
Miller is being held in the Platte County jail in lieu of a $500,000 cash-only bond. Police said their investigation continues.