Grand jury indicts 2 in Tuscaloosa shooting death

  • Previously covered University of Michigan for and
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and his friend, Michael Lynn Davis, have been indicted on capital murder charges by a Tuscaloosa County grand jury on Friday, Chief Assistant District Attorney Paula Whitley told ESPN.

Davis and Miles were arrested on Jan. 15 and eventually charged with the capital murder of Jamea Jonae Harris. Miles was removed from Alabama’s basketball team on Jan. 15.

Davis is alleged to have shot Harris while Harris was in a vehicle, which leads to a capital murder charge in Alabama. Miles admitted to providing Davis the gun in the case and is charged with capital murder for “aiding and abetting” Davis in the fatal shooting, according to Miles’ deposition and charge sheet.

Miles and Davis’ cases were sent to the grand jury following a Feb. 21 preliminary hearing where neither Miles nor Davis were given bond.

They remain in Tuscaloosa County jail. Miles and Davis are expected to have separate trials.

According to court testimony, Miles and Davis were both at the Twelve25 bar on The Strip in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Jan. 14, as were Harris, her cousin Asia Humphrey and Harris’ boyfriend Cedric Johnson. As Davis, Miles and Alabama basketball player Jaden Bradley were leaving the bar, Davis started dancing next to Harris’ Jeep.

A brief verbal altercation between Davis and Johnson ensued. Miles came back to remove Davis from the situation. Miles told investigators he saw a gun being passed from the front seat to the back seat while he went to remove Davis. Johnson told investigators they were passing food back.

Following the altercation, Miles texted Alabama freshman basketball star Brandon Miller to bring him his gun. It’s unclear whether or not Miller saw the text. Miller arrived at 1:43 a.m.

A minute later, Harris’ Jeep — driven by Johnson — pulled behind the cars of Bradley and Miller with its lights off. Davis and Miles then went into the back seat of Miller’s car — Miles on the right, Davis on the left — and searched for Miles’ gun.

According to police testimony, one of Miles or Davis told the other the “heat is in the hat,” referring to a handgun. The other asked “is there one in the head,” asking if it was loaded, which it was affirmed to be.

At 1:45 a.m., Davis walked to the driver’s side of Harris’ Jeep and gunfire began. Police testified on Feb. 21 that Davis fired first into the Jeep and Johnson then returned fire. In an interview with ESPN and during the Feb. 21 hearing, a defense attorney raised questions about whether Davis or Johnson fired first. Davis’ attorney, John Robbins, told ESPN they would pursue a “defense of justification.”

Davis ran across the street firing into the Jeep and into Miller’s windshield, according to video viewed by ESPN. Police testified one of the shots fired by Davis killed Harris in the passenger seat of her vehicle.

Miller’s attorney, Jim Standridge, said in a statement that Miller was already on his way to pick up Miles when he had sent the text message and was unaware Miles’ gun was in his backseat as it was concealed by clothing. Miller has not been charged with a crime and Whitley told there was nothing Miller could be charged with.

Miller has cooperated fully with the investigation, according to police and Miller’s attorney.

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