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Circle of evidence

Circle of evidence

Feb. 17, 1965: Framed by a burned tire entered as evidence, Lucille Miller, above, confers with attorney Edward P. Foley before returning to the witness stand in her San Bernardino murder trial. Miller said the tire blew out, causing a car accident and fire that killed her husband, dentist Gordon “Cork” Miller.

The tire defense failed, and Miller was convicted  of first-degree murder. She was sentenced to life in prison, but served only seven years.

The photograph by former Los Angeles Times staff photographer John Malmin was originally published on Feb. 18, 1965, accompanying the daily Times article on the Miller trial. The image won several awards, including first place in the metropolitan spot news division in the annual California-Nevada Associated Press photo contest.

In a 2006 Los Angeles Times article titled “A Mother’s Crime,” Lucille Miller’s daughter, Debra J. Miller, recounted the events surrounding her father’s death.

The jury visits a gas station in February 1965 to examine a car similar to the one in which Gordon “Cork” Miller burned to death. Lucille Miller, with sheriff’s Deputy Ken Kutch, stands at left. Credit: John Malmin / Los Angeles Times

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