meantime, all three suspects are out on bail enjoying their families and life as a
Now I also know, that there are those of you who are rolling your eyes at this statement, as stated in your blog remarks, we are accusing innocent people. I know also, that we will NOT stop our campaign for justice.
I would ask all of you who are offended by our remarks, to just stay clear of subjecting yourself to this issue by choosing to stay away, we do not want to offend you.
I am proud to state that our blog has almost 10,000 hits, from countries all over the world, there are people listening.
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. -- A lot has changed in this Old South city since U.S. Marine Sgt. William Miller was ambushed and gunned down nearly 36 years ago.
In 1972, Western Boulevard, where Miller's body was dumped, was two lanes surrounded by fields, forests and few people. Today, its five lanes are lined with big-box stores and fast-food joints. A bustling subdivision anchors its northern reach.
Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown described the Jacksonville and nearby Camp Lejeune of three decades ago as wild and cleaved by the Vietnam War. Today, even with another war simmering, the city is busy and the base draws little attention. Miller's death didn't draw much notice back then.
"There were no portable phones in those days. News didn't travel so fast," said Brown, a 59-year-old barrel-chested sheriff.
Three decades later, word moves faster. And the arrest of two suspects in the North Carolina killing is drawing attention in Oregon, where one of the suspects had been living quietly.
This week at the Onslow County Courthouse, Vicki Lynn Babbitt of Bend and George Hayden, a former Marine and police chief of the tiny North Carolina town of Belhaven, were charged with first-degree murder in Miller's killing. Babbitt is the former wife of Hayden, and before that she was the wife of Miller.
Investigators say Babbitt, Hayden and Miller were players in a lovers' triangle
Miller returned to North Carolina from training in Okinawa, Japan, to find his wife and Hayden living together, they say. Soon after, on Sept. 16, 1972, Babbitt and Hayden lured Miller to the rural road and shot him twice -- in the head and in the back -- with an M-16 rifle, they say.
Onslow County sheriff's Capt. Rick Sutherland, one of two lead detectives, had not been born when the killing occurred. His partner from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Dan Carlin, is 36, making him just older than the killing itself. Hayden and Babbitt were prime suspects from the start, they said.
"Investigators had narrowed their focus early on," Sutherland said Friday. "Both were considered strong suspects. But each time the DA said there wasn't enough evidence
In pursuing the case, Sutherland and Carlin described a tedious and tenacious effort. They re-examined evidence that had been studied for decades, re-interviewed a lengthy list of people and traveled to four states, including Oregon.
The big break came with the help of a local newspaper reporter, Lindell Kay, who found a person who investigators missed in the case's early days.
"That new witness put us in a new direction," Sutherland said. "He led us to other persons out of state that corroborated the information to the point where the DA was satisfied."
Babbitt, 58, was arraigned Friday in North Carolina after a red-eye flight from Oregon. Like Hayden, she is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
On Friday, no one answered the door at the 1980s tan rambler in a tidy Bend subdivision where Babbitt lives with her husband
A bookkeeper for a high-end tile company, Babbitt commuted about 18 miles to an office park off Oregon 20. Co-workers at Austin Tile Design Studio & Gallery declined to comment Friday.
The company released a brief statement: "Vickie has worked for the company for 2 1/2 years, is well liked by all employees and is dedicated to her job."
After her arrest Tuesday, Babbitt declined to fight extradition to North Carolina. Her signature on a non-judicial waiver allowed a pair of Navy investigators to accompany her to Jacksonville.
Because Hayden was a former Marine and former police chief of Belhaven, the detectives said his arrest was more akin to a military operation than a standard procedure. Hayde is comfortable with weapons and knows police tactics.
"It was a total surprise," Sutherland said of Monday's arrest. "I can understand that, after you've been able to avoid detection for 36 years."
Hayden retired from the Marines in 1989 and went to work in local law enforcement. He spent time with the Carteret County Sheriff's Department and served as chief for Cape Carteret and Belhaven city police departments.
He was dismissed from his job in March for reasons town officials declined to discuss.
A report Thursday in the Jacksonville Daily News said he was fired for insubordination.
Rodger A. Gill, 56, was arrested Friday at Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System in Danville on the out-of-state murder charges and was arraigned Tuesday in Vermilion County Circuit Court on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. He is the third person awaiting trial in Millers death.
Despite the time it took to arrest the suspects in Miller's killing, Sutherland and Carlin say the experience hooked them on the rush of warming up old cases. They said Friday that they are in the process of opening another cold case that is decades old
Charles Pope; By Sherry Rainey