DNA links suspect to murder of nuclear medicine physician

July 28, 2005

A suspect in custody for parole violation since shortly after the May 19 stabbing of Dr. Robert J. Lull has been linked through DNA to the crime, according to a report in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle.

A suspect in custody for parole violation since shortly after the May 19 stabbing of Dr. Robert J. Lull has been linked through DNA to the crime, according to a report in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle.

Ellison Millare, 30, had driven Lull's car to a parole appointment on May 20 and was taken into custody for failing to take his medication. Less than a week later, the San Francisco police arrested Millare. They had found items belonging to Lull in the Pittsburg, CA, motel room where Millare was staying, the Chronicle said.

Millare languished in jail on parole violation charges until DNA evidence from cherry pits left outside of Lull's home conclusively linked him to the murder scene. According to the Chronicle, the District Attorney's office was expected to file murder charges yesterday based on the DNA testing.

Lull, 64, was chief of nuclear medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and head of nuclear medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. Millare had worked briefly at the hospital, and Lull had been trying to help him since his release from prison earlier in the year. Millare's mother had worked as Lull's personal assistant.

According to a report in the San Francisco Examiner, Millare's mother had been laid off as a result of recent budget cuts.

"The physician felt an obligation toward her family, and on several occasions had assisted her troubled son, helping him land a job at SFGH at one point, according to Jonathan Lull [Robert's son]," the Examiner said.

Several organizations including the Society of Nuclear Medicine have established the Robert J. Lull, M.D., Memorial Fund to honor Lull's lifetime commitment to nuclear medicine. More information about the fund is available in this month's Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Murder of UCSF nuclear medicine chief stuns community