Local News

State Supreme Court Begins Considering Information That May Help Solve Murder Mystery

Posted March 18, 2004

— Last year, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that if someone tells their lawyer something about another person, that information is

not

protected by the attorney-client privilege.

A Raleigh lawyer received information from a now-deceased client that could solve a murder. So, Wednesday, the state's highest court began considering the information and deciding if it should be handed over to investigators.

The justices have an unlimited amount of time to decide whether attorney Rick Gammon should be compelled to tell the district attorney what he knows about the case.

When the decision comes, it may have far-reaching implications:

  • It could help solve the three-year-old Raleigh murder case of Eric Miller.
  • It could set a legal precedent on attorney-client privileges.
  • "I'm going to comply with whatever the Supreme Court tells me to do," Gammon said.

    Gammon represented Derril Willard, who committed suicide in January 2001 after police searched his home. Investigators believe Willard was having an affair with Eric Miller's wife, Ann, and may have told his attorney something about Miller's death from arsenic poisoning.

    Although police have not publicly named Ann Miller a suspect, they want to know if Willard told Gammon anything connecting her to the case.

    She refused to talk about it when WRAL caught up with her in Wilmington three weeks ago.

    No one has seen the information except for a Raleigh Superior Court judge and the Supreme Court justices.

    Lawyers for both Gammon and the state did not present arguments in front of the court Wednesday because they do not even know what is in the document.

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