Edmonton

Lesley Miller's mission was justice for her husband and being a voice for all victims

An Edmonton woman who tirelessly fought for justice after her husband was beaten into a vegetative state has died at age 73.

Edmonton woman whose husband Dougald was beaten into a coma, dies at age 73

Lesley Miller and her husband Dougald, who was beaten into a vegetative state 16 years ago by Leo Teskey. Lesley died on Feb. 14. (CBC)

An  Edmonton woman who tirelessly fought for justice after her husband was beaten into a vegetative state has died at age 73.

Lesley Miller's death on Feb. 14 comes a little more than two years after her husband, Dougald Miller, died in her arms, after living in what doctors called a "waking coma" since 2000 when he was attacked by Leo Teskey.

Dougald, a landlord, had found Teskey sleeping in the hallway of one of his rental properties. When the 61-year-old tried to get Teskey to leave, Teskey savagely beat Miller, leaving him brain damaged and paralyzed from the neck down.

Dougald Miller died in September 2016, after 16 years in a vegetative state.
When the attack happened, the 30-year-old Teskey already had long and violent criminal history, with 37 prior convictions that included shooting a police officer in the back of the head in 1988 and assaulting a two-year-old boy in 1994.

Lesley Miller made it her personal mission to attend every court proceeding involving Teskey, to ensure that legal decision-makers would personally bear witness to the impact of allowing dangerous offenders to be free.

"I blame the Alberta government and the federal government because they should've locked that SOB up when he shot that policeman," Lesley Miller said in 2016 after Dougald's death.

Teskey was designated a dangerous offender in 2010.

Leo Teskey was designated a dangerous offender in 2010. (CBC)
After that, Lesley Miller attended every parole hearing, including the most recent in July.

Mike Lakusta is the police officer that Teskey shot in 1988. He and Lesley became friends over the years and said he has nothing but respect for her determination to ensure that Teskey would never be freed to hurt anyone else.

"She was a fighter," Lakusta told CBC on Sunday. "She said that's the Scot in her, that she never gives up."

During the parole hearing in July 2018, Teskey read an apology to her. Lesley Miller was not moved.

"He doesn't mean one word of it," she told CBC. "He's not sorry. Psychopaths do not feel anything."

Even though it was hard for her to be in the same room as Teskey, she was determined to honour the promise she'd made to her husband, to attend every hearing and "make sure the parole board hears what he did."

Lakusta hasn't attended Teskey's parole hearings but fervently hopes he is never released. "What he did to her husband is just uncalled for," he said. "They were actually two victims of circumstance." 

Lesley Miller remained devoted to her husband, visiting Dougald every day in the care facility where he lived for 16 years. 

"Such a good, good man," she said about him in 2016. "A good husband, a good person, he didn't deserve this.

"That man took his life 16 years ago and it took mine as well."

The obituary for Lesley Miller says she "passed away unexpectedly." A funeral service will be held on Feb. 22.

"She's probably resting in peace now, Lesley is," Lakusta said. "What she went through ... , it took a lot out of her. But she had that one determination, that she is going to fight to make things better."

Lesley Miller visited her husband every day in the care facility where he lived. (CBC)

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