Gagged Man's Death A Homicide His Handcuffed Body Was Found In The Trunk Of A Bmw In The Northeast. He Had Served Prison Time On Drug Charges.

Posted: June 19, 1995

The death of a 28-year-old man who was found gagged and handcuffed in the trunk of a car over the weekend was ruled a homicide yesterday by the Medical Examiner's Office.

Gregory Milliner died of asphyxiation, homicide Capt. Patrick Dempsey said. Police do not know if he was alive when he was placed in the trunk, Dempsey said.

Milliner's body was discovered late Friday night, facedown in the trunk of a black BMW 735i parked in the basement of his townhouse in Modena Park in the Northeast.

His head was wrapped in duct tape and his hands were restrained behind his back with handcuffs, neighbors said.

A woman believed to be Milliner's girlfriend had been asking around the neighborhood for him since Thursday evening, said Lee Walters, a neighbor.

Later that day, Walters said, he noticed the BMW parked in the basement garage for the first time, its shiny finish marred by two sharply protruding dents above the left rear wheel.

"They look like they were made by somebody inside the trunk," Walters said yesterday as he stood next to the vehicle. "I remember thinking it was unusual that a car so nice would be dented like that."

The BMW was still in the garage yesterday, and a scrap of duct tape was stuck to the concrete floor. Police had said that the car had been impounded.

Dempsey said police are seeking the owner of the BMW for questioning as well as the man and woman who asked neighbors to check the trunk Friday night, Dempsey said.

A neighbor who spoke on condition that his name not be used said he was working on his lawn mower in a nearby garage Friday when he noticed a man and woman knocking on Milliner's apartment door several times during the day.

About 10 that night, the neighbor said, the two told him that they were afraid that Milliner was trapped in the trunk of a car in the garage. The neighbor said he opened the garage door and stood by and watched as the man opened the BMW's trunk with a key that had been left in the lock.

The man fled screaming when he saw Milliner's body inside, the neighbor said.

Donna Tryness, another neighbor, said she ran to the garage and saw the woman shrieking and crying, "They killed my baby!"

At that point, Tryness said, she called police. After police arrived, she said, they opened the trunk of a Mercedes parked in front of the townhouse. Police and neighbors discovered a live, two-foot-long alligator among stereo speakers in the trunk, neighbors said.

The animal was later released into the custody of the owner, a friend of Milliner's, Dempsey said. Police said the alligator had no connection to Milliner's death.

Milliner, who neighbors said owned a Mercedes and Lexus, was usually seen driving the Lexus, notable for a bright blue "press" sticker attached to its windshield, Walters said.

"I thought he was a reporter or something," said Walters, adding that he had arranged to move elsewhere in the complex in the aftermath of the slaying. The rental townhomes are located in a trim neighborhood within walking distance of the Franklin Mills Mall.

Police said Milliner had been arrested twice in the early 1990s on charges of manufacturing with the intent to deliver drugs. He was found guilty of the charges and served time in prison, police said.

Dempsey said Milliner was listed in police records as a construction worker, and was a native of Kingston, Jamaica.

Dempsey said police planned to look into whether the recent killing of a Jamaican-born man in West Philadelphia was related to Milliner's slaying.

Garth Garland Brooks, 32, was found dead, his mouth taped with duct tape, inside an apartment in the 200 block of South 49th Street on May 3. Brooks, who lived in Mount Airy, also died of asphyxiation, Dempsey said.

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