Suspect fights order
Published 11:29 pm Friday, January 23, 2009
Gill being detained on fugitive charge
Staff, Wire Reports
The third suspect arrested in the 1972 shooting death of Marine Corps Sgt. William “Billy” Miller is fighting extradition to North Carolina.
On Tuesday, Rodger Gill, 56, a resident of Athens, Ill., told a judge in Danville, Ill., that he is contesting North Carolina’s effort to extradite him, Vermilion County State’s Attorney Randy Brinegar told The Associated Press.
Brinegar said he will seek a governor’s warrant, which would force Gill to face the charges against him in North Carolina.
Gill faces charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The charges are outlined in a true bill of indictment handed down by an Onslow County grand jury Jan. 13.
Gill was arrested by Danville police Jan. 16 at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System, where he was undergoing treatment.
He was arraigned Tuesday in Vermilion County Circuit Court on a charge of being a fugitive from justice. The Illinois charge allows authorities to hold Gill while the extradition process takes place, said Fourth Prosecutorial District Attorney Dewey Hudson. The Fourth District encompasses Onslow County, where Miller was fatally shot.
Gill’s bond on the fugitive charge was set at $5 million, and he continues to be held at the Vermilion County Jail.
Late last year, the other two suspects in the case, George Hayden, a former Belhaven police chief, and Vickie Babbitt, Miller’s ex-wife, each posted bail on charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Hayden was arrested at his home near Belhaven in early September. Babbitt was extradited to Jacksonville from her home in Bend, Ore., days later. Both were held in the Onslow County Jail before posting bail.
Since posting bail, Babbitt has returned to Oregon, where she is monitored electronically as a condition of her release.
Hudson said his office is working with the appropriate authorities in Illinois and the governor’s office in Raleigh in the effort to extradite Gill.
Hayden, Babbitt, Miller and Gill were enlisted personnel in the Marine Corps and stationed at Camp Lejeune at the time of Miller’s death.
Gill was at the scene when Hayden shot Miller in the head and back with an M-16, according to authorities. Initially, Gill was considered an eyewitness, according to Hudson, who told the Jacksonville Daily News he found enough evidence to present to a grand jury in hopes of getting an indictment against Gill.