RALEIGH, N.C. — Police investigators have been given part of an affidavit that could provide important information about the Eric Miller poisoning case.
Attorney Richard Gammon released information to authorities Thursday about what his now-deceased client, Derril Willard Jr., told Gammon about the "activities and statements of a third party" in the case.
Following a court order, entered by Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens, Gammon gave to the district attorney all the information contained in the 12th paragraph of the sealed affidavit from Sept. 26, 2003.
Willard committed suicide in January 2001. Gammon has fought to keep what Willard told him secret.
"Today, what I am doing is against what I told Derril Willard would happen," Gammon said.
The state Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling earlier this month forcing Gammon to tell investigators some of what he had been told about Miller's death.
Gammon said he agreed to comply with the court order because he said other appeals most likely would fail.
"Although I strongly disagree with the court's decision, I acknowledge and respect his rights to interpret the laws of this state, despite my personal and professional disdain for this particular interpretation, I am bound by my oath as a lawyer to follow the laws of this state and the United States," Gammon said.
Miller, 30, died Dec. 2, 2000, of arsenic poisoning. Willard, 37, refused to talk with investigators after Eric Miller's death, but met with Gammon several times before killing himself.
Ann Miller, who police say may have had an affair with Willard, has since moved to Wilmington and remarried. She has not talked to authorities since the day her husband died. Authorities have not named a suspect in Miller's death.
Yvette Willard, Derril's widow, is hoping the new information will clear her husband's name. At the same time, she said an arrest may not be as clear-cut.
"I don't think it is going to be the open-shut variety, where it is going to lead to an arrest that quickly," she said. "It may assist in an investigation, but I don't know if it is going to be the answer to everything."
Lt. Chris Morgan, one of the lead investigators in the case, said he hopes the new information will help solve the case.
"It's been a long time coming," Morgan said. "Certainly, we are hoping to get the information that we have been seeking for so long. At that point, we will evaluate and see what direction we go in from there."
In a statement released Thursday, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said the information provided by Gammon has been turned over to the police department. Because it is considered evidence, he said he could not comment about it.