Feds Charge 5 in Case of ‘Blown Up' Body Found July 4 in Hamden

Five West Haven residents have been indicted on federal charges stemming from the July 4 killing of a man found wrapped in plastic and "literally blown up" in a remote area of Hamden.

Christopher Miller, 40; his mother, Deborah Miller, 59; and girlfriend, Natali Martinez, 29; along with James Bryant, 64, and Maurice Wearing, 26, were indicted on federal drug charges Friday.

Christopher Miller, who is accused of murdering his 39-year-old housemate Edward Brooks, was also charged with possession of an explosive by a convicted felon.

The five suspects are also facing state charges in connection with Brooks' murder. Authorities have said many of the suspects shared a home with Brooks on Front Avenue in West Haven.

Investigators found Brooks' body wrapped in a plastic bag and tied with rope at West Rock State Park in Hamden July 4 while investigating the report of an explosion nearby on Wintergreen Avenue, according to police and federal authorities.

Investigators believe Brooks was shot and killed at home in West Haven, then dumped in Hamden, where "literally, he was blown up with an explosive device," U.S. Attorney Dierdre Daly said at a press conference earlier this month.

In the days after Brooks' death, investigators searched his home at 59 Front Avenue in West Haven. Federal authorities said Brooks' housemates were "subjects of an ongoing narcotics investigation."

Friday's indictment charges Christopher and Deborah Miller, Martinez, Bryant and Wearing with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute the drug.

The suspects are already in custody on state charges.

State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor previously said Christopher Miller has been appointed a public defender but did not know the defender's name. It's not clear if the other suspects have attorneys.

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