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Posted December 4, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Defense seeks to withhold clues about strategy in murder case

By Joe Beck

Defense attorneys for accused child murderer Nicole Dawn Miller gave notice Wednesday that they want to withhold information about expert witnesses and documents from the prosecution to prevent giving away their strategy in the case.

Shenandoah County Judge Dennis L. Hupp set another hearing for 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 8 to hear arguments on the issue from the defense and Commonwealth's Attorney Amanda Wiseley.

Miller appeared in the courtroom in a jail jump suit with her attorneys, John C. Halloran and William Eldridge, both of Harrisonburg. They also filed a discovery motion seeking to gain access to documents and other material held by the prosecution that has a bearing on the case.

Wiseley has filed a notice stating her intent to seek the death penalty against Miller, 26. Miller is accused of killing a 20-month-old child, who was the son of Jeremy Alexander Vermillion, identified as Miller's fiancé at the time the child died on June 3 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

Shenandoah County prosecutors dropped a related charge of child endangerment against Vermillion in early November, although they still have the option of seeking an indictment against Vermillion from a grand jury.

Halloran told Hupp he is still waiting to receive a report of an autopsy of the victim that was completed days after the child's death in early June.

"Usually, that's done within two to three months but children take longer," Halloran said of autopsy reports.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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