Former police chief to remain in prison until Supreme Court decision
Updated at 4:55 p.m.
The N.C. Supreme Court has issued a stay in the case of a former local police chief whose 2010 murder conviction was reversed on appeal.
George Hayden, 60, who would have otherwise been released June 27, will remain in prison while the high court determines whether it will review his case. After authorities revived the cold case, Hayden was convicted last year by an Onslow County jury in the 1972 shooting death of Marine Sgt. Bill Miller.
Hayden’s conviction was reversed by the N.C. Court of Appeals earlier this month because the three-judge panel agreed the jury should not have convicted Hayden because, the panel said, no murder weapon was ever recovered and prosecutors failed to place Hayden at the scene of the crime.
Prosecutors provided evidence at trial that Hayden was having an affair with Miller’s wife at the time that Miller was killed, made threats against Miller, claimed to have access to the type of rifle used to kill Miller and married Miller’s wife four months after Miller’s death.
The case was reopened after a series of award-winning articles about the crime appeared in The Daily News in August 2008.
Miller’s wife, Vickie Babbitt, and Rodger Gill, a Camp LejeuneMarine in 1972, were both charged with Miller’s death, but those charges were dismissed in late 2010.
“The Office of the Attorney General is continuing to handle the appeal, and I appreciate their role in requesting the stay,” Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee said. “I will continue to remain in close contact with the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the case and the victim’s family