Local News

Judge Gets Information From Lawyer About Eric Miller Case

Posted September 26, 2003

— Attorney Rick Gammon turned over notes about a conversation he had with Derril Willard, a man who committed suicide, but who may also have some information about the Eric Miller case.

On Friday, attorney Rick Gammon hand-delivered to Wake County Judge Donald Stephens information he fought for nearly two years to keep secret. Derril Willard reportedly told Gammon information about Eric Miller's poisoning death before Willard killed himself. Police say Willard was having an affair with Miller's wife, Ann.

The State Supreme Court ordered Gammon to share what he knows with Stephens.

"It's all in the judge's hands at this point in time," Gammon said. "I complied with his order. I gave it to him sealed and he will keep it sealed. I'm sure he will make a decision when he feels ready."

Stephens will decide what information, if any, will be given to the district attorney, who hopes it will help solve the murder mystery.

"I think this is a dark day for attorney-client privilege," Gammon said.

"The attorney-client privilege has been very seriously undermined, and in many instance, simply does not exist anymore."

Raleigh Defense Attorney Johnny Gaskins believes he can use the Supreme Court ruling in another case. Gaskins is defending Dwight McLean, one of five people charged with the 2002 shooting of Raleigh Public Utilities employee Robert Saiz.

Gaskins wants lawyers for the other four defendants to tell the judge what they know about McLean's role in the murder.

"In a criminal case what each one of those defendants has told his lawyer about third parties is no longer privileged and subject to discovery," he said.

Many legal experts feel the Eric Miller case will not kill attorney-client privilege. They feel the ruling was very specific to that particular case.

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