Cheryl Miranda, a 56-year-old woman from Tampa, Florida, was beaten, stabbed, and burned by her ex-lover, Tonya Miller, and Miller’s son, Jabaris Miller, 11 years ago. TV One’s Fatal Attraction will spotlight her story on Monday night. On the new episode titled, “Road Trip Terror,” investigators are called to the scene, where a burning pick-up truck holds the body of a lesbian woman who was missing from another state. As detectives race to find out the victim’s identity, they uncover a bizarre family rift that is bonded through murder.
March, 2005 — Unincorporated Fulton County, Georgia
It was March 2005, when police found a burning car in a wooded area of Unincorporated Fulton County, Georgia, in the 5000 block of Welcome All Road. After the fire was extinguished, investigators found the charred body of a black female inside the bed of a pick-up truck, according to The Office Of The Fulton County District Attorney.
“The charred remains of an unidentified body were discovered in the bed of the truck. The victim was later positively identified via her fingerprints. The Medical Examiner ruled her cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and a stab wound to her neck. Her hands were bound by rope and a belt was tied around her neck.”
The car was traced back to Tampa, Florida, and the victim was identified as 56-year-old Cheryl Miranda, a Vietnam veteran. An autopsy found that the woman had a stab wound to the side of her neck and had been beaten about the head with a blunt object, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
During the investigation, police were able to link Cheryl Miranda’s cell phone to Tonya Miller, and her son, Jabaris Miller. A relative confirmed to police that before the body was discovered, Tonya and Jabaris had stayed at an apartment near the crime scene.
Some Of The Evidence That Connected Tonya And Jabaris Miller To The Murder
- The burning truck with the body inside was near a family member’s apartment
- A prior history of domestic violence between Tonya and the victim was established.
- Fingerprints led back to both Tonya and Jabaris Miller.
- Phone records show that Tonya and Jabaris made phone calls to family members in Georgia to ask for gas money at the time of the murder.
At trial, prosecutors told the jury that Cheryl Miranda, a lesbian, had been involved in a stormy relationship with Tonya Miller, her former female lover and ex-roommate. The relationship had been particularly abusive, causing Cheryl Miranda to contact police on numerous occasions to report the domestic violence. Eventually, two restraining orders were obtained against Tonya Miller. Close friends of Cheryl Miranda said that she often confided in them about her tumultuous and violent relationship with Tonya Miller, according to court records found at FindLaw.
“‘Tonya threatens to kill me, threatens to stab me, beat me, [and] I’m in fear, great fear of my life.’ Tonya had broken into [Miranda’s apartment] through back sliding glass doors, that she ‘came at [her] striking [her] in the back’. Tonya is known to possess ‘knives, swords, guns, five stars.'”
The Georgia jury also heard that Tonya Miller was angry that Cheryl Miranda had planned to move to Alabama and move on with her life. So she devised a plan to kill her ex-lover by luring her to the home and ask her for a ride to Georgia. Sadly, Cheryl Miranda agreed to help her former friend and had no idea that she was walking into a deadly trap.
It seemed that 22-year-old Jabaris Miller wanted to help his mother since he often blamed her for spending more time with Cheryl Miranda than with him. The district attorney alleged at trial that the murder of Cheryl Miranda brought the mother and son closer together, according to Project Q Atlanta.
For the murder of Cheryl Miranda, the Millers were found guilty and sentenced to time in prison. Tonya Miller’s conviction was later thrown out. However, she was found guilty for a second time and sentenced to life in prison, plus an additional 10 years.
Domestic violence permeates throughout many homes. If you know that you are a victim of domestic violence, do the following.
Protect Yourself Against Domestic Violence
- Call the police
- Document every incident
- Confide in a friend or family member
- Have a plan
- Have your money in place
Once you have finally broken free from the violent relationship, let it stay that way. Often times, victims are lured into situations either by the ex, or by someone the ex knows.
- Put distance between you and the abuser
- Most of all, never meet up with a violent ex.
- If your gut tells you that something isn’t right, pay attention to that feeling. It’s your warning system.
Watch the compelling videos about domestic violence below. Beware: The videos contain profanity and intense emotional situations.
Domestic Violence Video Featuring Black Lesbian Relationships
Young people of various backgrounds speaking out against domestic violence.
Watch Fatal Attraction this Monday night at 9/8 p.m. Central on TV One.
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