Local News

Police Hope New Information Could Crack 3-Year-Old Murder Case

Posted March 2, 2004

— Ann Miller has a new hairstyle, a new house and a new husband. But something old still is hanging over her head, the unsolved murder of her first husband, Eric Miller.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill AIDS researcher died from arsenic poisoning in December 2000. The case remains open -- still active.

"There's no statute of limitations on murder in North Carolina," District Attorney Colon Willoughby said.

Raleigh police have not named Ann Miller a suspect. But the focus of their investigation and the public's attention has been on her.

"Anybody who had access to him would have to be a suspect," Raleigh police Lt. Chris Morgan said.

Investigators believe Ann Miller was having an affair with co-worker Derril Willard at the time her husband died.

Willard committed suicide after police questioned him and searched his home. Before Willard died, he talked to defense attorney Rick Gammon.

The state wants Gammon to reveal what Willard told him. The North Carolina Supreme Court is expected to rule on that question soon.

"If I'm ordered to do that, and that's the final word, then I'm going to comply with whatever the Supreme Court tells me to do," Gammon said.

Said Willoughby: "We're anxious to get the information and, hopefully, solve this case."

Ann Miller has refused to speak to police since her husband was killed. But her new life goes on in a quiet Wilmington neighborhood.

Real estate records show that Ann Miller has owned her home in Wilmington for more than a year. Neighbors said her new husband and she often are out in the yard grilling, gardening, and playing with her 4-year-old daughter.

But neighbors also said the couple keeps a low profile, rarely speaking to anyone.

When WRAL tried to speak with Ann Miller last week at the pharmaceutical company where she works, she had nothing to say.

A few months ago, she went to the register of deeds in Pender County to get a marriage license with her boyfriend. She married Paul Kontz, a guitarist and singer in a Christian rock band, at the North Wilmington Community Church in November.

Kontz did not want to talk to us, either, and tried to avoid our camera.

As Ann Miller steps back into married life, police watch with interest, still trying to figure out who killed her first husband.

"I feel confident that we will find the truth," Morgan said, "and at that point, if there's an arrest to be made, it will be made."

The attorney who may know the truth soon could be compelled to talk.

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