Local News

Widow Glad About Ruling That Attorney Must Reveal Late Husband's Side Of Story

Posted May 10, 2004 9:22 a.m. EDT

— AIDS researcher Eric Miller died in Dec. 2000. No arrests have been made in his death, but Raleigh attorney Rick Gammon may have clues.

Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled Gammon must tell investigators what a now-dead client knew about Miller's death -- specifically, information Derill Willard may have had about another person's role in the poisoning.

Police have never called Miller's wife, Ann, a suspect, but she has been part of the investigation.

Gammon claimed what Willard told him was protected by attorney-client privilege. The court disagreed because Gammon would be releasing information about a third party, not Willard himself.

Willard's widow, Yvette, says she is pleased with the ruling that says her late husband can tell his side of the story through his lawyer.

Yvette Willard is moving on with her life. Four years have passed since her husband killed himself.

"The last six weeks of his life, it was a living nightmare. Like everyday, it was killing him slowly," she said.

Focused on the future, Willard recognizes the legal system must worry about the past. That is why she hopes the judge's decision to hear from her late husband's lawyer will help her family finally move past his death.

"I'm not afraid of anything that's going to come out," she said. "There's nothing in there to show Derril did anything wrong."

Willard is not confident her late husband had information that would solve the Miller's death, but hopes whatever he did say will help crack the case.

"I don't think it's going to be 'Eureka, here's what happened.' I don't think that's going to happen," she said. "The best I hope for is there is something he talked about that can be like a thread unraveling -- pull on the thread -- that will help."

She stands by what she has said all along -- that her late husband had nothing to do with Miller's death.

Willard says she will explain more about the circumstances surrounding her husband's death to their daughter, who just turned 6, as she grows older.

  • May 7, 2004:

    N.C. Supreme Court: Attorney Must Divulge Info About Eric Miller Case

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