If you live in San Diego or read our blog post back in July, then you are likely familiar with the months-long investigation into the disappearance of Maya Millete in Chula Vista. Well, we are finally getting some answers in the wake of Larry Millete’s arrest last week. Millete was arrested for one count of murder and one count of unlawful possession of an assault weapon on October 19th. A second-degree murder charge alone carries a penalty of 15 years to life in state prison, and Millete pleaded not guilty at his arraignment two days later.
Publicly available court documents and law enforcement’s statements made during a press conference offer a glimpse into the evidence the prosecution may rely on in trying to prove Millete is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Filed affidavits discuss marital troubles between Larry and Maya, and insinuate he became increasingly desperate not to lose her. They also bring into question his whereabouts the following , and point to the contents of his phone that were obtained pursuant to a search warrant as circumstantial evidence that he may have killed her. Prosecutors also mentioned the lack of evidence that she is still alive, such as the lack of contact with her kids or family, and lack of any bank withdrawals.
Whether this is ultimately enough to convict Larry Millete of murder remains to be seen (and let’s not forget, all criminal defendants must be presumed innocent until proven guilty—even the unpopular ones). Millete likely has several potential defenses above and beyond the good, old fashioned “I didn’t do it.” He could also argue he killed his wife, but in lawful self-defense, or that he did so in a heat of passion that would reduce his criminal liability from murder to something less severe, like voluntary manslaughter. More information is sure to come to light in the coming months, as his case is officially underway.
To learn more about the state of the case, check out partner Stefano Molea’s appearance on Channel 7’s NBC San Diego the week of Larry Millete’s first court appearance here.
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