Kalispell Man Admits to Double Murder

By Beacon Staff

A Kalispell man accused of killing two people on Christmas day last year pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in Flathead County District Court.

Tyler Michael Miller, 35, previously known as Tyler Michael Cheetham, took the stand and told Judge Stewart Stadler that he killed his former girlfriend Jaimi Hurlbert, 35, and her daughter, Alyssa Burkett, 15, on Dec. 25, 2010.

When asked by his attorney Noel Larrivee if he knowingly caused Hurlbert’s and Burkett’s deaths, Miller replied, “I did.”

There was no plea agreement in place, which means Miller could face the death penalty for the murders. Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan filed his intent to pursue capital punishment in March.

The court found Miller mentally competent to stand trial in early December, and Miller filed his notice to change his plea on Dec. 23.

During questioning at Wednesday’s hearing, Miller said he was aware of his rights and had no intent to go to trial. Larrivee asked Miller if he understood that his legal team wanted to try the case in court, to which Miller replied that he did and affirmed that he was making the decision to plead guilty on his own accord.

The trial was scheduled for March 5, 2012.

Miller also said new medications, identified at previous hearings to include mood stabilizers, were helping with his mood swings and with being able to sleep. He also said his visits with various mental health professionals have been beneficial.

Miller admitted to using a .45-caliber pistol in the killings as well, which could add two to 10 years to his sentence.

Prosecutors did not ask questions during the hearing, and Miller’s defense attorneys did not comment after the hearing.

This is the first case since 1983 in which the county attorney’s office has pursued the death penalty.

According to court filings, Miller admitted to the shootings after he was arrested. Records state that he said he knew he should have felt bad about the murders, but he was “happier than hell.”

Miller’s attorneys attempted to suppress his confessions because he was high on methamphetamines when he was being questioned.

Stadler said Miller’s sentencing hearing would be scheduled soon.