Rodney Miller's last moments were in slow motion.

The decorated Australian Senior Constable crawled. Some say he crawled almost 200m suffering gunshot wounds to deliver information that is still being debated 20 years later.

Miller and his partner, Sergeant Gary Silk, were in Moorabin, in Victoria's southeast, on August 16, 1998 when a routine vehicle stop turned deadly.

They were shot at close range from inside the Hyundai Excel they'd pulled over. Miller survived long enough to tell responding officers that, importantly, "two" men were responsible. "They were on foot," he allegedly said.


It was a statement that passed through the hands of multiple detectives and was used to convict seasoned criminals Bendali Debs and Jason Roberts. But Miller might never have said it and Roberts might never have been there.

Why is it important now? Because a petition for mercy could land on the desk of Victoria's next Attorney-General after November's state election.

'This is a fundamental issue'

Bendali Michael Debs led away to jail in 2003. Photo / AAP
Bendali Michael Debs led away to jail in 2003. Photo / AAP

Bendali Debs and Jason Roberts met when the latter was a teenager. He was easily swayed. Debs asked Roberts if he wanted any "work", according to Roberts' testimony at a 2013 review.

"Originally, the way Ben was talking, there was real good money to be made," Roberts said.

"A few jobs a year, good money, and no one gets hurt ... I knew what he was talking about was illegal, but he never mentioned armed robberies.

"We had a few drinks, and at that time I was 16 years old and I got sold on the idea."

Roberts and Debs were linked to a number of armed robberies after that, including some in the Moorabin area before the Silk and Miller murders. And that's where the conspiracy begins.

Some believe police wanted both Debs and Roberts put away and that the statement from Miller — that there were "two" men "on foot" was falsified. The Herald Sun reported in November that an original statement contained no mention of more than one shooter.


Veteran former detective Ron Iddles, who is calling for a judicial review into the case, told Melbourne radio station 3AW: "This is a manipulation of the facts to fit a theory that the detectives had.

"There has to be more than one person who knows about this ... if you have more than one person, you have a conspiracy."

It's a theory supported by Melbourne lawyer Rob Stary, who is representing Roberts.

"It goes to a very critical issue and the issue is whether there was one or two shooters that were identified, or two persons being present at the scene," he said.

"This is a fundamental issue because, in fact, if the only person that's identified at the scene is ultimately Bandali Debs, he's the psychopathic shooter, and it doesn't make reference to a second person, it's very fundamental."

'He was in bed with me'

Jason Roberts had two links to the Debs family. He was in business with Bendali and he was dating Bendali's daughter, Nicole.

Ms Debs did not stick by Roberts after he was sentenced to 35 years, but did tell police he was nowhere near the shooting in the early hours of August 16.
It was revealed last year that Ms Debs was willing to testify that Roberts was in bed next to her the entire night.

"I have not seen Jason Roberts for six years and I now have a new life," she said in a recorded interview with police in 2013, uncovered by the Herald Sun.

"I do not want to see Jason Roberts and I can assure you I would not lie for him. What I want to do is set the record right, and confirm with you Jason Roberts was home with me on the night of 15 August, 1998. I am prepared to give this evidence if required."

She said her father asked to borrow her car for the night and that he returned it around 1am.

"I can't remember him even getting out of bed that night," Ms Debs said. "Like, when I woke up at one o'clock in the morning, he was right next to me.

"One thing is for sure, is my dad had left and Jason was still with me, and we went to bed together on that night."

'Enough is enough'

Mr Stary said in 2017 he intends "to take the matter to court", but that's more bad news for the families of Silk and Miller.

In a statement released after Victoria's Attorney-General Martin Pakula denied Roberts' appeal bid, the families said they'd had enough.

"Over the past 19 years, the tragic events of August 16, 1998 have been constantly reignited at great distress to our families," the statement said.

"The police force has rejected the Iddles Report. After a five-month trial, two appeals and the most recent decision by the Attorney-General the legal process has concluded that there is no further case to answer.

"There must come a time when we as a family can feel confident that the process is now over. There must come a time, when we say, 'Enough is enough'."

But it may not be over just yet. Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog confirmed in November an investigation into evidence tampering is ongoing.

Meanwhile, Jason Roberts waits in Barwon Prison, writing letters to his former business partner and the father of his one-time childhood sweetheart, begging him to come clean.