Local News

Eric Miller's Widow Held Without Bail, Charged With Murder In Arsenic Poisoning

Posted September 28, 2004

— Since researcher Eric Miller's poisoning death almost four years ago, the focus has been on his wife, Ann Miller. Now, a grand jury has indicted her on a first-degree murder charge in connection with her late husband's death.

Miller surrendered to authorities shortly before 6 p.m. Monday. She walked into the Wake County Public Safety Center in downtown Raleigh, where she was placed in handcuffs and taken to the Raleigh Police Department. Police attempted to get a statement from her, which she declined.

Joe Cheshire, Miller's attorney, was upset over police bringing her back outside from the Public Safety Center. He said it was, "very disturbing...absolutely a setup for a photo-op. It was a pre-planned macho showdown."

Raleigh police say it is standard procedure to take a suspect back to their headquarters.

Miller is being held without bail. She was never officially named as a suspect in the December 2000 murder case. Eric Miller got sick after a night out with his wife and some friends. Authorities say he later died from arsenic poisoning.

"The police have been very careful and cautious in their investigation. We appreciate the thoroughness they have done," said Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. "In this case, two men are already dead. We certainly did not want to compound that strategy by rushing to judgment and moving before the case is ready."

Lt. Chris Morgan led the investigation into the Miller case. He recently retired, but remains a big part of the case.

"You have got two men dead, two fatherless daughters and several families torn asunder," Morgan said. "It is not a happy day, but I think I would be more unhappy and disturbed if justice was not moving forward."

Eric Miller's father, who lives in Cambridge City, Ind., also called the indictment a turning point.

``We're just still looking for answers, still looking for the truth,'' Verus Miller said. ``We're looking to having justice for Eric. It's not a happy day. Anything that concerns Eric's death, you can't feel happy about it.''

Raleigh police said Ann Miller had an affair with a co-worker, Derril Willard, and that both had access to an arsenic compound at the GlaxoSmithKline laboratory where they worked. Willard committed suicide shortly after police questioned him about Miller's death.

"There's just so many people that have been hurt," said Yvette Willard, Derril's widow.

Attorney Rick Gammon, who represented Willard before his death, refused to reveal information about conversations he had with Willard about the case prior to his death. However, the state Supreme Court ordered Gammon to reveal what he knew about the Miller case.

Ann Miller remarried and moved to Wilmington.

Willoughby said he had not decided whether to seek the death penalty. A decision on that issue will probably precede a bond hearing for Kontz.

Cheshire said his client was in Raleigh so she could turn herself in.

"She was very sad, resigned'' Cheshire said. "We saw this coming, so we had gotten her up here. She was very sad, and she already misses her daughter.''

Miller has not talked to authorities since the day her husband died. The couple's daughter is now 5 years old.

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