Monday, March 30, 2009


By GREG KATSKI Staff Writer-Washington Daily News
March 29, 2009

The third suspect in the 1972 shooting death of former Marine Corps Sgt. William "Billy" Miller was placed in the Onslow County Detention Center on Thursday night by investigators with the Onslow County Sheriff's Office, according to Cpt. Rick Sutherland with the department. Rodger Gill, 56, of Athens, Ill., had been contesting his extradition to North Carolina while being held at the Vermilion (Ill.) County Jail. He was arrested by Danville, Ill. police Jan. 16 at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Miller.

Former Belhaven police chief George Hayden was arrested at his home near Belhaven in September and charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Days later, Miller's ex-wife, Vickie Babbitt was arrested in Bend, Ore. and received the same charges. The two suspects were held in the Onslow County Detention Center before posting bail late last year. Hayden, Babbitt, Miller and Gill were all enlisted in the Marine Corps and stationed at Camp Lejune at the time of Miller's death. While Miller was stationed abroad, Hayden and Babbitt allegedly began dating. When Miller returned from assignment in September 1972, he found Hayden living at his house with Babbitt. Miller kicked out Hayden and Babbitt, who took her and Miller's 1-year-old daughter. Miller and Babbitt separated shortly thereafter. A custody battle over the couple's daughter ensued. In the midst of the dispute, authorities say Babbitt set Miller up to be ambushed by Hayden on a country road in Jacksonville.

Gill was allegedly at the scene when Hayden shot Miller in the head and back with an M-16. He was originally considered an eyewitness, but Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said he found enough evidence to charge Gill. Gill made his first appearance in Onslow County Superior Court on Friday, and was told his rights and probable cause for the arrest, said Onslow County Assistant District Attorney Mike Maultsby. Maultsby said that Gill's attorney has yet to file for a bond hearing."But I would expect him to file a motion soon," he said.

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