Jury finds ‘psychotic’ man who killed his teenage girlfriend guilty of murder

A NSW man has been convicted of murdering the girlfriend he strangled, believing she had turned into a life-sucking demon while he was suffering from a psychotic episode.

Jordan Brodie Miller, 21, was tried by Newcastle Supreme Court for the murder of 18-year-old Emerald Wardle at their home in Metford, near Maitland, in June 2020.

Ms Wardle was in a relationship with Miller and the couple lived together. Neighbors in the ‘quiet and loving little neighbourhood’ described Ms Wardle as ‘a lovely girl’.

The trial heard that Miller, a second-year university student and part-time petrol station employee, had no criminal history or mental health diagnosis prior to Ms Wardle’s death.

Miller with Mrs. Wardle. The Crown argued that his psychotic state was brought on by illicit drugs.(Facebook)

Miller, 21, has always admitted to killing Ms Wardle.

The trial heard he attacked her because he thought she was a demon who wanted to suck him off.

Miller had used the drug LSD 11 days earlier.

Accused “in a psychotic state”

Crown prosecutor Lee Carr told the court there were signs Miller recognized he had killed Ms Wardle and knew she was a human and not a demon.

But defense lawyer Peter Krisenthal told the jury that his client suffered from a mental health problem exacerbated by drug use and that he did not know what he had done was morally and legally objectionable.

In the opening speeches, the jury was told that Miller was in a “psychotic state”.

Mr. Carr concluded that Miller’s unstable state was brought on by LSD.

But Mr Krisenthal said it was due to chronic schizophrenia and that Miller suffered from mental illness.

During the trial, in the police body camera view played to the jury, Miller spoke about what happened.

As he was placed in a police car, he said: “She sucked my life. I killed a demon.

During a police interview, Miller told police he “took half a tablet of acid and had a spiritual enlightenment.”

“I got really smart,” he said.

“I felt like I had a curse on me and the only way to fix it was to kill myself or her.

“Essentially, I lost a part of me.”

A brick house.
The house where Emerald Wardle died at the hands of Miller.(ABC News)

The jury also viewed an audio recording of Miller’s first appearance in Newcastle court in which he repeated: “I am a murderer”.

At his trial, Miller also pleaded a partial defense of self-defense.

Summarizing the case, Judge Richard Cavanagh told jurors that if they accepted mental retardation as a defense, they would return a verdict that the act would be proven without holding Miller criminally liable.

He said that would mean a conviction for manslaughter instead of murder.

Ultimately, the jury sided with the Crown, finding Miller guilty of murder.

Sentencing proceedings are due to begin on August 18.

Job , updated

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