Atlanta woman gets life plus 10 years in girlfriend killing

An Atlanta woman has been convicted a second time and sentenced to life plus 10 years for the murder of a former girlfriend.

Jurors returned guilty verdicts Friday against Tonya Miller, 48, on charges of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and concealing a death in connection with the 2005 killing of Cheryl Miranda, 56, of Tampa, Fla.

According to police, on March 4, 2005, a Fulton County police officer discovered a pickup truck burning in a wooded area in the 5000 block of Welcome All Road in unincorporated Fulton County.

When the fire was extinguished, the charred remains of an unidentified body were discovered in the bed of the truck. Miranda was later identified via her fingerprints. The truck, which belonged to Miranda, was driven to Atlanta from Florida by Miller and her son Jabaris Miller, according to the investigation.

Miranda was last seen alive in Tampa a few days before her body was discovered in Atlanta.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to the neck. Her hands were bound and a belt was tied around her neck. Prior to her death, the victim had taken out a restraining order against Tonya Miller — her former roommate and girlfriend, police said.

Witnesses testified that Tonya Miller and Miranda, who were once lovers, had a rocky relationship that led to the victim taking out the restraining order.

Police were able to unravel the murder mystery when they discovered that Miller and her son were using the victim’s cell phone to call relatives while they were driving her truck from Tampa to Atlanta. The Millers then hid in a relative’s apartment until they decided to dump the truck in the woods and set the fire.

The Millers were each convicted in 2008 of murder, arson and concealing a death in connection with the crime. Jabaris Miller’s conviction was affirmed by the Georgia Supreme Court; however, Tonya Miller’s conviction was overturned based on inadmissible hearsay testimony and a new trial was granted.

After her latest conviction, Miller was sentenced to life plus 10 years in prison by presiding Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams.