Bradenton man owed his drug dealer money. His blood was found in dealer’s car, cops say

Manrieke “Fresh” Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree murder on Saturday in the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Christopher Boston.
Manrieke “Fresh” Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree murder on Saturday in the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Christopher Boston. Manatee County Sheriff's Office

When Christopher Boston didn’t pay his drug dealer last month, detectives say his dealer shot Boston dead and dumped his body just up the road from where the dealer lived.

Boston was buying drugs to “take the edge off” before checking himself into the drug rehabilitation program at Centerstone, another dealer, who was letting Boston stay with him, told detectives.

At about 10:15 p.m. Aug. 8, Boston’s body was found alongside the 7400 block of Bishop Harbor Road in Rubonia. Several drivers had spotted Boston’s legs sticking out from the grass and called 911.

Bradenton man's death being investigated after his body found alongside Rubonia road

On Saturday, Manrieke “Fresh” Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree murder. Miller was already in custody at the Manatee County jail at time for related drug and battery charges. He is being held without bond.

Between Aug. 4 and 8, Boston and Miller exchanged text messages in which they discussed a drug deal, according to a probable cause affidavit. The conversation first became hostile on Aug. 5 when Miller texted Boston writing, “U playing (expletive) games” and “I want my money.”

Boston asked Miller to calm down, insisted that he hadn’t lied and promised to pay his dealer back. Miller responded by saying he wanted his money the next day.

The final message from Miller to Boston, an expletive, was sent less than two hours before Boston’s body was found.

In the hours before he was killed, Boston also contacted Miller with his mother’s phone, which had been stolen along with her car days before his death.

Detectives were able to identify Miller by tracing the cell phone number he used back to his girlfriend and then finding her Facebook account which led them to him, according to the report. Addresses for Miller and his girlfriend were both on 72nd Street Court East in Rubonia, just a few hundred yards from where Boston’s body was found.

Surveillance video obtained by detectives captured a white four-door vehicle making a u-turn on Bishop Harbor Road. In the weeks after Boston’s death, detectives spotted Miller driving a white Malibu, which was also traced back to his girlfriend.

On Aug. 24, detectives watched Miller as he drove to the 5100 block of 15th Street East in Bradenton, got out of the car and went inside a building. Miller was driving with a revoked driver’s license so detectives prepared to arrest him and surrounded his car with their vehicles as soon as Miller approached the car.

Miller got into the car and accelerated the car towards the vehicle blocking the car from the front, knocking that vehicle into a detective standing behind it and knocking that detective backwards. Miller tried to drive away but crashed into another vehicle, disabling the car so he took off running.

Detectives caught him and arrested him, according to reports. Miller was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and several drug-related violations after detectives found in his car a bag with $1,100, more than 50 grams of marijuana, more than 15 grams of cocaine and 2 Oxycodone pills, all packaged for sale.

But potentially more incriminating was the blood and bullet that crime scene investigators would find days later in the car.

Meanwhile, Miller called his girlfriend in what detectives believe was an attempt to create a cover story, asking if she remembered a “white guy” getting into the car “all sweaty with red stuff running down his face.”

“This story would not be plausible as Boston could not have entered the car after being shot through the head,” Detective Dan Dickerman wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

Blood from inside the car and on the bullet found inside the front passenger door were later tested at a DNA lab and found to match Boston.

Miller was released from a Florida prison on March 20 after serving a 16-month sentence for two counts of selling of cocaine and one count of selling of marijuana. His prior record includes convictions for battery, resisting arrest without violence and carrying a concealed weapon.

You can follow Jessica De Leon on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.