A former San Francisco 49ers fullback “looked like a complete maniac” the morning that he allegedly bludgeoned an elderly father and his son at a hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf, a witness testified Thursday.
Bruce Miller is accused of beating the father and son in September 2016 while drunkenly attempting to enter the wrong hotel room at the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf. His preliminary hearing began with testimony from Sherri Marcin, the wife and mother of the beating victims, who said Miller threatened to kill them.
“He was spitting, he was violent, he looked like a maniac,” said Marcin. “He looked like a complete maniac. I had no doubt in my mind that he was very serious about what he said.”
Miller is facing felony charges including assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse and criminal threats. Miller was cut by the 49ers after the incident and hasn’t re-signed with any NFL team since.
The preliminary hearing comes as his former team deals with the arrest of Reuben Foster, a star linebacker who allegedly dragged his girlfriend on Sunday.
Miller, a large man with a red beard and hair cropped short on the sides, hunched forward in his seat while waiting for San Francisco Superior Court Judge Philip Moscone to call the hearing.
Authorities escorted Marcin into the courtroom for her safety. Marcin said she still fears for her life after the attack left her husband and son with lasting injuries. Both suffer from memory loss, and her son, who used a cane at the time for a sprained ankle, “can’t remember what he had for dinner two hours ago.”
Prosecutor Julia Cervantes showed Marcin a picture of the cane, which was bent because Miller allegedly used it in the attack. The prosecutor also showed Marcin pictures of the bruised and battered bodies of her husband and son.
Nearly the first thing Marcin did was bang on the witness stand to demonstrate how she said Miller pounded on her hotel room door on Sept. 5, 2016. It was around 2 a.m. and Marcin and her 70-year-old husband were asleep. Their 29-year-old son was asleep in the room next door.
Marcin said she looked through the peephole and told Miller he had the wrong room. Marcin said Miller pulled off his shirt and began to yell, “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill you.”
Marcin called security, but the security guard came and went when Miller refused to leave the hallway.
“We were goners, we were left alone,” Marcin said. “Nobody was going to protect us and we were dead.”
The ruckus also woke her husband and son. At some point, her son opened his door to the hallway. Her husband ran into the other room through a connecting door to close it, leaving her behind in their room.
Marcin said she heard Miller say, “Now that I’ve seen your faces, I’m going to kill you.”
“He also said to my husband, ‘you senile, fat, old cocksucker, now that I’ve seen your face, I’m going to kill you,’” Marcin said.
Marcin said Miller called her husband and son “faggots” over and over again and told them “you’re gonna suck my dick.” She said the former football player was yelling so loudly that “everybody on the floor must have heard it.”
“I thought we were dead, I thought we were all dead,” Marcin said.
Marcin was calling 911 repeatedly when she heard a crash next door. She suggested that the fight continued out into the hallway.
When she opened the door, Marcin said she saw her husband and son holding onto each other and limping “very slowly” from the end of the hallway back toward her room. Miller had left the hallway.
Miller was later arrested and charged with various felonies and a misdemeanor.
Joshua Bentley, his attorney, declined to comment outside the courtroom.
Robert Moore, another attorney for Miller, cross-examined Marcin and questioned whether she “really feared” for her life since she did not tell 911 she was afraid he was going to kill her.
“You didn’t say ‘our lives are in danger,” Moore said. “You didn’t say anything to 911.”
The preliminary hearing is continuing this afternoon.
Miller was drafted by the 49ers as a seventh-round pick in 2011. He played a role as the Niners went to three-straight NFC Championship games.
In March 2015, Miller was arrested in Santa Clara after his former fiancee alleged he shoved her and destroyed her cellphone during an argument.
He was charged with spousal battery. He denied the charges but pled no contest to a misdemeanor in the case, for which he was sentenced to a 16-week anti-domestic violence course.
San Francisco Examiner Sports Editor Jacob Palmer contributed to this report.