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Garland Ray MILAM






A.K.A.: "Soul Sucker"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Homeless - He told police he "got addicted to sucking the souls out of people"
Number of victims:  2 - 3
Date of murders: July 2005
Date of arrest: August 13, 2005 (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1965
Victims profile: Johnny Paul Davis, 48 / Tim McCoy, 48 (homeless acquaintances)
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Ligature strangulation
Location: Arizona/Tennessee, USA
Status: Pleaded guilty. Received two 51-year sentences on January 24, 2007
photo gallery

Drifter Garland Ray Milam, 40, who lived in the woods behind a strip mall, confessed to strangling two other homeless men, telling police he "got addicted to sucking the souls out of people." Police said Milam killed the unidentified men after arguing about money and food.


Homeless Killer Reveals Details Of Murders

January 25, 2007

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In a Nashville courtroom, an admitted killer gave the details of two senseless murders he said he committed last summer.

Garland Milam addressed the court before he received two life sentences for killing two homeless men.

The men were murdered near some woods in Antioch.

With the victims’ family members in the court room, Milam told the judge how he strangled Tim McCoy, then burned the man’s body.

Milam then gave the details of the second killing.

"I purposely told him what it was that I had done to Tim McCoy. I told him how I killed Tim McCoy and he said, 'Why did you tell me this?' I said, 'Well, because now I have to kill you. I am going to give you a five minute head start to get out of my camp before I kill you.' I gave him a head start, but he was so drunk, he kept falling down and couldn't go anywhere. I actually felt sorry for him. I told him as I'm killing him, 'I'm doing this to put you out of your misery,'" Milam said.

By pleading guilty and waiving his rights to a trial, Milam received two 51-year sentences for premeditated murder.

“I got addicted to sucking the souls out of people that I was killing. And I’m going to do it again, if I don’t get the death penalty,” Milam told police after his arrest.

He did not receive the death penalty, but Milam will never be a free man again.

The two sentences will run consecutively.


Drifter says he tried to outrun need to kill

Accused of strangling pair, he says only the death penalty will stop him

The Tennessean

September 29, 2005

Drifter Garland Ray Milam says he feels no remorse about strangling two homeless acquaintances in July and has no regrets about the life that led him to a Nashville jail and the possibility of never being a free man again.

"I wasn't angry when I killed them," he said in a jailhouse interview last week. "I just killed them to kill them. I made a game out of it." Betraying no emotion, Milam painted a picture of a broken childhood in which he suffered emotional and physical abuse.

For much of his adult life, he says, he traveled from town to town across America, taking odd jobs and self-medicating with street drugs in an attempt to outrun his need to kill. But it caught up with him in Nashville this summer.

"The desire has always been there, it's just the courage had never been there," he said. "Maybe when I just was old enough, I finally realized, 'I really don't have anything to lose, so why not?' "

Prosecutors have not said whether they plan to seek the death penalty, but Milam said he is ready to plead guilty to the two homicide charges that were bound over to a Davidson County grand jury last month. He said he spoke to the newspaper against his attorney's advice.

In the interview, Milam said he also killed and dismembered a man in Tucson, Ariz., using a machete.

"I know that I'm a monster," Milam, 40, said during an appearance in night court shortly after he turned himself in at an Antioch grocery store. "I got addicted to sucking the souls out of the people I was killing. And I'm going to do it again if I don't get the death penalty."

Animals were first victims

At about age 10, Milam started killing animals. He had been taken away from his mother by the state of California as a toddler.

"While I was living with my aunt, I was taking a lot of the rage and anger that I had out on small animals, small puppies, kittens.

"The kittens, I would twist their necks until they broke. The puppies I smothered until they were dead. It was just something I desired to do," he said.

After striking out on the road as a teenager, Milam worked as a busboy at a truck stop in Cisco, Texas, and lived with a man who raised goats. "When I kept myself busy working, I didn't have that urge," he said.

But when word came that he was being laid off, "I kind of went into a little bit of a rage. There were some baby goats that had just been born. I killed them with a garbage bag — tied it over their heads and tied a knot in it so they couldn't get it off."

Still, for years, Milam says he was able to outrun his dark hunger.

"The wandering and the traveling and the hitchhiking — as long as I was constantly moving, it seemed like I evaded that desire to kill."

Milam said that while living in Tucson, Ariz., he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, which he believes was caused by childhood abuse.

Symptoms of the anxiety disorder can include nightmares, flashbacks and emotional detachment.

Milam's aunt, Jo Johnston, at whose hands Milam says he suffered emotional and physical abuse, said last week that she didn't "know how to respond to that."

"The way I see it, he was just an uncontrollable child," she said. "Now it sounds like he's blaming everything on everybody but himself."

In an e-mail, Milam's older sister Annette wrote that Milam was not the only one in the family with a troubled upbringing.

"Where does the violence stem from?" she wrote. "Part heredity, part childhood experiences. It could be me sitting in prison as well. We all have the memories. We all have a monster inside of us to some extent. Some just know how to control it."

Getting 'high' off souls

Milam said he spent much of his life "self-medicating" with street drugs including crack cocaine and marijuana.

"My own mother, before she died, introduced me to crystal meth and drinking," he said. "She was a Cherokee woman. She used to be a topless dancer and she used to be a biker."

In 1995, Milam's younger brother, Tom Johnston, of Florida, found him a job there and tried to help him turn his life around. But one day Milam disappeared, leaving a note that said he had traded his bicycle for a crack rock.

"I left because I didn't want to kill Tommy," he said. "I started having feelings like I wanted to kill Tommy. I tried to stop it by way of smoking crack, keeping my mind numb. It didn't work, it made it worse ... So I left."

Milam said he wound up in Nashville by accident, getting stuck while trying to hitchhike from Albuquerque, N.M., to Maine. Since his arrival in Music City in December, Milam has decorated himself with several new tattoos, including clusters of eyeballs that appear to be looking out of windows on either side of his skull.

"These was actually a joke," he said, pointing to them. A friend, who was a tattoo artist, told Milam that it was too easy to sneak up on him.

"'You need eyes in the back of your head,' he said. So I said, 'What if I had eyes all around my head?' " he said. "The artist that did it couldn't quite draw a good eyeball. I'm gong to have them redone once I get into the penitentiary."

Unremorseful, Milam seemed completely detached from the consequences of his actions.

Asked if he had anything he wanted to say to a grieving friend of Tim McCoy, whom Milam is accused of strangling with a belt and then setting ablaze, trying to make it look like an accident, Milam replied:

"Tell her not to worry about his soul, because his soul is safe with me.

"I had my belt, I had it around his neck and I pulled until he quit moving. Now, he kicked me a good one — almost broke my leg," he said with a chuckle. "He quit moving and his soul rode the last breath out of his body and I — fffffppp — inhaled it."

Jane DeLoache said getting over McCoy's loss is still a day-to-day affair.

"That's really gross," she said after hearing Milam's description of ingesting McCoy's soul. "Tim's soul is with God or with Jesus and with me and his family — with everyone that knows and loves him. He got the body, but not the soul."

Milam equated sniffing souls to getting high.

"It's better than crystal meth," he said.

"It's a body rush. You get a tingling sensation along the outside of your skin down to your toes. The rush can be almost so much that it will make you lose control of your bowels. Did I? Yeah."

Milam said he thinks he failed to suck up the soul of Johnny Paul Davis, whom he says he strangled a day after McCoy, because he didn't get the same buzz.

"I think I missed it," he said.

Now, after years on the road, the thought of a life of confinement "doesn't bother me," Milam said. "Maybe I'll learn a trade, keep my mind busy by reading books, do some leather work."


Homeless man strangled with leash

August 16, 2005

A homeless man told police that he strangled a drinking buddy with a dog leash because the friend refused to chip in on some beer, a Metro detective testified yesterday.

The details came during a preliminary hearing for Garland Ray Milam, who faces charges in two killings that occurred over two days last week.

Milam, 40, led police to the body of 48-year-old Johnny Paul Davis, after walking into a grocery store and telling an employee that he wanted to turn himself in for murder, police said.

"He said he had gotten angry with him because he was supposed to pitch in on the alcohol," Metro detective Roy Dunaway told the court.

Under questioning by police, Milam confessed to killing another homeless man the day before, Dunaway said.

Milam's case drew local media attention last week after the drifter told a night court commissioner that he wanted to be executed.

"I want the death penalty," Milam said.

"I know that I'm a monster. I got addicted to sucking the souls out of the people I was killing. And I'm going to do it again if I don't get the death penalty."

He has been charged with two counts of criminal homicide.

Metro police have contacted authorities in other states where Milam is known to have lived, to see if he may be connected to any similar cases. Public records indicate that Milam has lived in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Florida, Texas and Utah.

During yesterday's hearing, the detective told the court that he and Milam had met the day before the man's confession.

Dunaway showed up to investigate a slaying at a homeless camp behind the Media Play store on Bell Forge Lane.

Police found the charred remains of Tim McCoy, 48, in what was left of a tent behind the Antioch store.

Milam had been considered a witness in that case after telling investigators that he had been with the slain man the night before and then discovered the body still on fire the next morning, police said.

After confessing to the Davis killing, Milam also admitted strangling McCoy with a money belt and setting him on fire with a cigarette lighter, according to testimony.

Metro General Sessions Judge Mike Mondelli found probable cause to bind the case over to the Davidson County grand jury.

Milam is being held in the Metro Jail in lieu of $700,000 bail.



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