Staunton Cold Case Solved

May 21, 2015

In November of 1983, 20-year-old Pete Miller disappeared.  He was supposed to be married a week later, and his prospective father-in-law - Charles Almond -- reported him missing. 

To this day, police have found no evidence that Miller is dead, but this week the Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney charged Almond with first degree murder. 

On paper, Charles Almond appeared to be a petty criminal - a second-grade drop-out who was convicted of burglary, breaking and entering and throwing a rock at a pick-up truck.  In 1993, he was sentenced to prison after shooting his television while his sons argued about what to watch.  Police found six firearms in his home.  Twenty years later, Commonwealths Attorney Lee Ervin says his name came up again, in connection with the disappearance of 20-year-old Pete Miller.

“In 2013, the sheriff’s department got new information concerning Mr. Miller’s disappearance and started the investigation new again.”

But witnesses were reluctant to talk, so Augusta County asked for help from Virginia’s attorney general, who can establish a special grand jury.

“The state can force people to come in before that grand jury and force them to give sworn testimony.  When you put all the evidence together, it was sufficient for an indictment.”

Remains were never found, but testimony before the grand jury led Ervin to charge Charles Almond with first degree murder.  Now 84, Almond was taken to jail, and Ervin has no regrets about locking up a senior citizen.

“If the evidence shows that he committed this crime, then I have no regrets at all about that.  You have to pay for your criminal acts.”

Miller’s family, which has waited 32 years for some kind of justice, is said to be happy with the news.