Nfld. & Labrador

Anatomy of a killing: The death of Steven Miller

Following a court hearing this morning, CBC can finally bring you the details of a grisly killing.

Warning: this story contains numerous graphic details

Steven Miller was killed during a violent abduction at a home in the Seal Cove area of Conception Bay South in July 2016. (Facebook)

As the sun rose over quaint suburbia, the quiet lives of regular people were disrupted by the body dumped in their driveway.

Steven Miller lay on the pavement, blood surrounding his body from knife wounds and blunt force trauma.

He was left there to die in public, laid out for the residents of Bayview Heights in Conception Bay South to see when they woke up on the morning of July 30, 2016.

But for more than two years, the details of his killing were kept private, covered by a publication ban until all four men charged with playing a part in his death made their way through the court system.

On Friday morning, Paul Connolly faced a judge as the facts of the case were read out for the fourth — and final — time.

Paul Connolly, 36, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in Miller's death. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

With that court appearance, CBC News can now report the details of the case. 

What happened to Steven Miller?

"Get the f--k up. We are going to bring you to the hospital, man. You got stabbed in the heart."

Those words were heard during a 911 call that Connolly, 36, made on July 30, 2016, at 4:09 a.m.

Miller sat in a chair, bleeding out. The 25-year-old would soon be dead, while Connolly and three other men would be charged with first-degree murder.

Chesley Lucas, 24, and Calvin Kenny, 26, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Miller's death and were sentenced to 12½ years in prison. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

The others charged were Chesley Lucas, 24, Calvin Kenny, 26, and Kyle Morgan, 20.

Connolly told the dispatcher exactly where they were — 1625 Conception Bay Highway.

At about 4:13 a.m., Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Const. William Kennedy overheard units being dispatched to that address.

He was only a minute away, and headed for the home.

As Kennedy neared the address, he saw a woman who was extremely shaken and distraught, with blood on her hands and T-shirt.

DNA testing would show the blood belonged to both Miller and Kenny.

She told the officer that three men with guns and knives had come into the home and abducted Miller, her boyfriend's brother.

She also told him the house was on fire.

The attack

In a statement provided to the police, the woman said she heard a loud banging on the doors and three men forced their way into the house using the front and rear doors.

She said the men were dressed in black. They were wearing masks.

"We know who you are," she heard Miller say. "What do you want?"

The witness then heard a struggle and saw the men drag Miller from his bedroom. She watched as two of the men held Miller down while the other man assaulted him.

Kyle Morgan, 20, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Steven Miller's killing. (Glenn Payette/CBC)

She said she heard one of the men say, "Shoot him."

The man who had been assaulting Miller came into her bedroom and pointed a gun at her, demanding to know if she had called the police.

The masked man told her to come with them, and he took her cellphone.

When she came out of the bedroom, she saw Miller covered in blood and sitting in a chair, with a stab wound to his upper right chest.

She said the men told Miller he was coming with them, and they were going to save his life.

She saw two men take Miller outside, while the third man poured gasoline from a yellow can around the living room.

He asked her for a match. Then he lit the house on fire and left, she said.

While running from the house, the woman saw a grey van pull out of the driveway but, because she was in her bare feet, she had to go back inside to get a pair of boots.

When the police searched the house after the attack, they found pills, white powder that looked like cocaine, a substantial quantity of marijuana and a large sum of cash.

Forensic work identified Calvin Kenny's blood in 12 different places in or around the house — including on the handle of a buck knife found in a crawl space, with Miller's blood on the blade.

Another 911 call

At 4:19 a.m. there was another call to 911. The dispatcher heard a man say, "I'm going to save this guy's life. Where's the nearest hospital? I got him in my arms here. I'm trying to save his life here. I need to get him to an ambulance. I don't know what happened to him."

It was Calvin Kenny on the phone.

Kenny continued, "He's on the side of the road. I drove by and picked him up. Go to the f--king hospital."

"I don't know where we are," Kenny said on the call.

In the background, Miller was heard moaning in pain, saying, "Let me get out."

"Get out," Kenney replied.

"I am," said Miller. 

Kenny then told the dispatcher, "He tried to attack me. [I] tried to help him. He's left on the side of the road."

The call was being made on Miller's cellphone. 

Miller, 25, was violently abducted from his Seal Cove home, seen here before it was demolished, on July 30, 2016. His body was found in a Conception Bay South driveway. (CBC/Facebook)

The dispatcher asked where they were, and Kenny said they were at 1 Marios St. in, erroneously, Paradise. 

There is no Marios Street in Paradise, and when dispatch checked subscriber information for the phone, Miller's address was listed as being in Paradise, on Paradise Drive, near a Mallow Drive, which is where the ambulance was sent.

It would turn out that Miller, still alive, was actually dumped in a driveway at 46 Bayview Heights in Conception Bay South, which does intersect with Marios Street. 

That's where he would die from his stab wounds.

Miller had wounds to his back, face, left armpit, as well as other areas. 

The most significant wound was to the upper right of his heart.

Kenny's mistake — getting the town wrong — meant the first responders who tried to find Miller in Paradise were misdirected. 

The plan

Earlier that evening, Morgan, Lucas and Kenny picked up Connolly in St. John's.

Morgan was driving his red Honda Civic. After picking up Connolly, they talked about doing a "drug rip" — a slang term for a robbery.

They drove to Morgan's house in Paradise first.

Lucas, Kenny and Connolly had gotten a grey van and drove to Miller's place to commit the robbery. Morgan stayed behind.

A short time later, Morgan got a call from Kenny to go to the Foxtrap Access Road to pick up the three men.

When Morgan arrived, Kenny and Connolly were injured. The three men got into Morgan's Honda, and he drove them back to his house.

They tried to patch themselves up, but Connolly insisted on going to the hospital.

How it unravelled

Morgan and Lucas took Connolly to Trails End Drive in Paradise.

At 5:08 a.m., Morgan called 911, told the dispatcher where he was and said, "I got my buddy here. He is stabbed up really bad."

An ambulance picked up Connolly. He would remain in hospital for several days with stab wounds and lacerations.

Later that day, at 1:31 p.m., police responded to the Roberts Heights area of Paradise, where a man on an ATV had noticed two men burning something. When he approached them, they left in a two-door red Honda Civic.

The man followed, got the plate number and called the police, who found the licence plate matched Morgan's car.

In the area where the man spotted the two men, the police found a suitcase that had been set on fire. It contained what appeared to be a millwright tool and some old textbooks. Miller was a millwright. 

In a separate pile there were burned gloves, a balaclava, a partial sole of a shoe with a herringbone pattern, and a lighter refill bottle.

Morgan would later tell police the suitcase and burned items were ones that Kenny, Lucas and Connolly had taken from the crime scene at Miller's house. 

Less than two hours after the police had been at Roberts Heights, officers stopped a red Honda Civic with the licence number they had been given. Morgan was driving and Lucas was the passenger.

From left: Connolly, Morgan, Lucas and Kenny.

Arrests and confessions

On July 31, 2016, at 7:20 p.m., the day after the stabbing, police responded to the discovery of a burned van on the Foxtrap Access Road. It was registered to the sister of Calvin Kenny's girlfriend.

That same day, Kenny was arrested on an outstanding parole warrant. He had several injuries and was taken to hospital. He told the staff he had been stabbed.

A later examination by Dr. Simon Avis, the province's chief medical examiner, showed Kenny had both defensive and non-defensive wounds. 

The police took a statement from Paul Connolly on Aug. 4, 2016, after he checked himself out of the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's.

Connolly didn't hold back. He told them about the entire plan. He talked about Kyle Morgan's red Honda and the van that was used for the robbery.

He said Kenny had entered Miller's home through the front door, and Chesley Lucas kicked in the back door.

Connolly said he remembered grabbing a phone from someone and calling 911. 

It was following Connolly's statement that he and Morgan were arrested. Charges were laid against Kenny, who was already in custody for the parole violation.

On Aug. 7, 2016, Morgan also agreed to talk to the police and told them about the plan, driving around with the other three men, picking them up after the stabbing, and calling 911 so Connolly could get to the hospital.

Lucas flees

On the same day Morgan gave his statement to the police, Chesley Lucas and a friend, Brady Myler, got the ferry from Argentia and hightailed it to Nova Scotia. 

The next day, the RNC announced a Canada-wide warrant for both Lucas and Myler.

Myler quickly turned himself in to the police in Halifax, and said Lucas had told him he was there the night Miller was stabbed, and that Lucas had told him about burning the van.

Lucas was arrested Aug. 9 in a Halifax restaurant. When police searched his hotel room, they found a knife, a hammer and bear spray.

An undercover police officer was placed in Lucas's cell. Lucas told the officer it was a 16-hour trip on the ferry and that he drank for most of it. 

After Myler had turned himself in, Lucas sat down at the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse for hours, drinking by himself, before going back to his hotel room and doing cocaine.

The facts

The details in this story are taken from the agreed statement of facts used to convict Calvin Kenny and Chesley Lucas.

They also come from Judge Colin Flynn's decision when he sentenced Morgan on Aug. 1, 2017, and from the agreed statement of facts to convict Connolly of manslaughter.

Kyle Morgan pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to manslaughter. The Crown and defence recommended a year in prison and two years' probation.

Though he said he felt it was too low, Flynn accepted the joint submission.

Morgan has completed his sentence and is now out of jail. When asked for comment on this story, he told a CBC reporter to "f--k off."

One week after Morgan pleaded guilty, Lucas and Kenny pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The Crown and defence recommended they get 7½ years in prison, but Flynn said he refused to accept a low sentence for a crime so brazen. He sentenced Lucas and Kenny to 12½ years in prison — a decision both men have since appealed.

Connolly was set to head to trial on a charge of first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty in Supreme Court to manslaughter earlier this month.

Editor's note: Glenn Payette retired from CBC News earlier this year. He reported the details of this story beforehand, pending the conclusion of Paul Connolly's case. 


Glenn Payette


A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.