COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. (KMSP) - The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Columbia Heights, Minnesota murder suspect Phillip Leron Miller, who has ties to both the Twin Cities and Chicago. Miller, 41, is charged with second-degree murder in the April 20 shooting death of Philip Charles Borer Nelson at an apartment in Columbia Heights, Minnesota.
Miller has a gold bottom tooth, a tattoo of a naked woman on his left forearm, and a tattoo of a wizard on his right forearm. He is known to use the following aliases: "Hot-Dog", "Hotdog", "Unk", "Ox", Benjamin Lee, Hot Dog Miller, Hotdog Miller, Phillip Miller, Phillip L. Miller, Phillip Laron Miller, Phillip Lerome Miller, Phillip Lucky Miller, Phillips Miller, Phillip Covington, Phillip N. Covington, Phillip L. Covington.
Anyone with information as to his location should call the FBI's Minneapolis Field Office at 763-569-8000, or the Anoka County Sheriff's Office at 763-427-1212.
The death of Philip Nelson
Columbia Heights police officers were dispatched to an apartment on the 1000 block of 41st Avenue NE around 4:30 a.m. the morning of April 20, where they found Nelson, who had “succumbed to a violent death.” Nelson, 31, was a student adviser at the High School for the Recording Arts in St. Paul.
REMEMBERING PHILIP - Victim of 'violent death' in Columbia Heights was a student mentor
According to the criminal complaint, one of the tenants of the apartment was identified as KIW. She was reluctant to give information or answer police questions about what happened in her apartment, but told police that she had arrived home about 11 p.m. the night before and went to bed. KIW said that a few hours later she woke up to someone buzzing her apartment, which causes her phone to ring.
KIW said she then got a call from Nelson, her ex-boyfriend, who she only identified to police as “P”. KIW said she did not buzz Nelson into to the apartment, but that a short time later Nelson was in her apartment but eventually left.
KIW told police that after Nelson left the apartment, she called “Ox,” who arrived at the apartment at 3:55 a.m., according to security video. KIW said that after a while she began to notice it was cold in the apartment, so she left her bedroom to check the windows and noticed a “dark, unknown figure hiding behind her couch in the living room.” KIW said “Ox” went to investigate while she remained in the bedroom, at which point she heard two men screaming, followed by multiple gunshots.
At the scene of the shooting, investigators found 6 fired .40 caliber cartridges. It appears the shots were fired from different locations and different angles from within the apartment, and 2 of Nelson’s bullet wounds had what appeared to be couch stuffing in the wound.
Following the shooting, apartment security footage shows “Ox” driving a newer 4‐door car with Illinois plates. On April 21, KIW took police to an apartment on Oak Grove Parkway in Brooklyn Park, where the same 4‐door car with Illinois plates was located.
Police were eventually able to identify “Ox” as Phillip Leron Miller by lifting fingerprints from a soda bottle he carried into the Columbia Heights apartment, as seen on security video.
Employees of the Holiday Store on Colorado Lane in Brooklyn Park called police that morning to report a black handgun was found in their outside garbage can. The gun was identified as a Glock .40 caliber with a 15-round magazine. Store surveillance video shows what appears to a person placing something in the garbage can at about 4:50 a.m. on April 20. The gun was found less than half a mile from Miller’s apartment.
Police reviewed surveillance video from the Brooklyn Park apartment, which shows Miller leaving in a yellow Chevy Camaro with a woman at 5:04 a.m. on April 20. Then, at 1:04 p.m. that afternoon, two women entered the apartment building using the Miller’s electronic key fob, and the same women then leave at 1:22 p.m. with 2 full duffel bags.
Nelson’s fiancee told police that Nelson had previous concerns about being “set up” by KIW. The fiancee said Nelson used to date KIW and helped her in some type of a “sensual message” business, but it is her understanding that KIW now had a new person who worked with her in the business, not Nelson.
Multiple phone numbers and GPS tracks have been checked by police, and multiple locations have been searched in an attempt to locate Phillip Leron Miller, aka “Ox.” As stated above, anyone with information should contact the Columbia Heights Police or the Anoka County Sheriff's Office at 763-427-1212.