The murder of the young, Raleigh-based pediatric AIDS researcher Eric Miller is the subject of a new Investigation Discovery (ID) show airing Friday.
The story is familiar to those who lived in the Raleigh area in 2000, around the time of Miller’s death. The 30-year-old UNC researcher was poisoned by his wife, GlaxoSmithKline chemist Ann Miller, and her supervisor at GSK, Derril Willard. But it took nearly five years for police to catch Miller and bring her to justice.
The “Fatal Passions” episode airing this week tells Eric’s story using reenactments and interviews with Eric’s family members and friends, along with interviews from local television reporters, a police detective and attorneys.
Eric and Ann are presented by friends as a “Barbie and Ken” couple who were deeply in love in college at Purdue and throughout their courtship as they attended graduate school at N.C. State University in Raleigh. To everyone around them, they seemed destined for happily ever after.
But soon after their marriage and the birth of their daughter, the two began fighting about money and their relationship became strained. Around this time, Ann also began having an affair with Willard. Ann plotted with Willard to poison Eric, who fell ill and was hospitalized.
We’ll leave the rest of the Lifetime movie-esque twists and turns to “Fatal Passions,” so that we don’t spoil the story for those who weren’t here to live through it. But here are a few things you will see in the show:
▪ One of the interviewees is an anonymous “shadow,” someone from GlaxoSmithKline who talks about Ann’s inappropriate relationship with Willard and their access to arsenic.
▪ Ed Crump, a reporter for WTVD who covered the story, talks about a particularly tense moment at Willard’s home. It’s good. WRAL’s Amanda Lamb, who wrote a book about the case (“Deadly Dose”), is also featured.
▪ Raleigh forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Teague calls Ann Miller the “textbook definition of a psychopath.”
One thing the show leaves out is how in the years between Eric’s death and Ann’s arrest, Ann moved to Wilmington and married a Christian rock musician. That’s where she was when arrested.
Watch ‘Fatal Passions’
The Eric Miller / Ann Miller episode of “Fatal Passions” airs at 10 p.m. Friday on the Investigation Discovery channel. You can find ID locally on channels 76 and 138 on Time Warner Cable/Spectrum; channel 260 on AT&T UVerse; channel 339 on Google Fiber; channel 192 on Dish; and channel 285 on DirecTV.