Kind-stranger killing has Roane links

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By Terri Likens, Editor

A man who should have been grateful instead killed — or helped kill — a kind stranger who picked him up, fed him and gave him shelter.

That’s what the San Bernardino County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department is saying about Michael Dane Arrowood, a man with  Roane County ties who has been arrested after authorities reopened a cold case file in the ’91 slaying.

The 42-year-old was arrested Nov. 8 in Gatlinburg for the murder of 39-year-old John Richard Miller, an independent contractor for Southern Pacific Railroad, Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed.

Arrowood lived in Gatlinburg at the time of his arrest, according to an employee at the Gatlinburg Police Department who would not give her name.

California authorities said Arrowood told them he and his brother, James Arrowood, were traveling cross-country to  Los Angeles when their van broke down in Las Vegas.

When they began hitchhiking, Miller, who was working in the Victorville, Calif., area at the time, picked them up in May 1991.

Authorities said Miller bought them pizza and drinks and let them stay at his hotel room.

However, when Miller was in the bathroom, the brothers allegedly found $1,000 cash in the room and decided to kill him for it. Miller was allegedly strangled with a towel and his body stuffed under the mattress in the hotel room. The slaying happened on May 7, 1991.

James Arrowood of Harriman is currently in the Roane County Jail on drug charges.

Chief Deputy Tim Phillips of the Roane County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that San Bernardino County authorities have been to Roane County to talk to him.

“Detectives from California did come here,” Phillips said. “I don’t know if they got an interview with him.”

San Bernardino County officials said they are expecting to make more arrests in the case.

They had reopened the case in 2008 and, by using new technology, found a fingerprint they linked to Michael Dane Arrowood.