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Published: Thursday, 9/4/2003

Attorney is named for murder suspect

Eric Harmon is escorted into court for his arraignment. Eric Harmon is escorted into court for his arraignment.

A Toledo man accused in the stabbing death of his live-in girlfriend's 4-year-old daughter was arraigned yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Eric Harmon, 31, who appeared before Judge Charles Doneghy, is charged with the murder of Skylar Burnard and the stabbing of his own 2-month-old son, Gavin Harmon. Attorney Ron Wingate was appointed to represent Mr. Harmon.

The children were stabbed Aug. 22 in the Secor Road home that their mother, Nicole Miller, shared with Mr. Harmon. Gavin was released from Toledo Children's Hospital six days after he was injured.

About two dozen relatives and friends of Ms. Miller and the children were in the courtroom for the arraignment. Some of the spectators wept as the defendant was brought into the courtroom.

He is charged with one count each of aggravated murder, attempted murder, and felonious assault. He faces a possible death sentence if he is convicted of killing Skylar.

Mr. Harmon talked softly, and his answers to the judge's questions about whether he had the money to hire his own attorney were barely audible.

Judge Doneghy continued the case until Wednesday to give Mr. Wingate the opportunity to talk to Mr. Harmon, who is being held in the Lucas County jail without bond. Judge Doneghy said the attorney will need time with his client to address issues of competency.

The incident has prompted Toledo safety authorities to review their policies for responding to domestic violence calls after learning it took 20 minutes to get emergency medical assistance to the Secor address.

During the confrontation, police said Mr. Harmon took the children into a garage, where he allegedly stabbed them. He then stabbed himself.

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