Richland man pleads innocent to murdering ex-girlfriend

Tri-City HeraldSeptember 17, 2013 

Lawrence Arnold Miller

Lawrence Arnold Miller.

PAUL T. ERICKSON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

— A Richland man pleaded innocent Tuesday to stabbing to death his former girlfriend in a violent rage last week.

Lawrence A. Miller, 34, appeared briefly in Benton County Superior Court.

He is charged with second-degree murder with four aggravating circumstances for stabbing Rebeca Vandeventer, 32, about 30 times during a fight at an apartment they shared.

His attorney said they wanted to reserve the right to change his plea to a possibility of an insanity defense or diminished capacity defense. His trial is set for Nov. 4.

He remains in the Benton County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

An autopsy showed Vandeventer bled to death last Wednesday night while her three children — ages 2, 4 and 8 — were in the same apartment. Investigators say she also was gagged and stomped on.

Her 8-year-old son saw some of the attack on his mother and went to a neighbor for help after Miller left.

Miller turned himself in to police shortly after the stabbing. He reportedly admitted to the killing, telling police he was upset Vandeventer wouldn’t stop seeing another man.

Less than three weeks before she was killed, Vandeventer filed an order of protection against Miller after he gave her a concussion during a fight and she fled to a domestic violence shelter.

The protection order was dismissed Sept. 6 after she failed to appear at a court hearing.

Vandeventer told court officials that Miller had physically and verbally abused her and her children since 2011. They reportedly shared the apartment at 1179 Dos Palos Court in Richland, though they recently had broken up.

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