Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles indicted by grand jury
(AP) – Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles has been indicted by a grand jury on capital murder charges for the January shooting death of a 23-year-old mother, his lawyer confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday.
Michael Davis, who is also charged in the shooting death of Jamea Harris, was also indicted, defense lawyer Mary Turner told the AP. Turner only represents Miles.
Harris was sitting in a car when she was struck by a bullet. A police investigator testified last month that Miles provided the handgun Davis allegedly used in the shooting.
During a court hearing last month, Turner suggested Miles was in a defensive posture when he told Davis where the gun was located.
But prosecutors maintained there was enough evidence to pursue charges in the shooting, which happened early Jan. 15 on “The Strip,” a district of bars and restaurants near the Tuscaloosa campus. Testimony at the hearing last month indicated there had been an argument between the two groups.
The Turner Law Group, which is representing Miles, issued a statement Friday, saying they were disappointed by the decision to pursue capital murder charges “considering the evidence uncovered during our investigation and the obvious weaknesses in the government’s case brought to light during the preliminary hearing.”
Miles was a reserve on the Crimson Tide men’s basketball team. An ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. After he was charged in January, Alabama said he was “removed from campus” and the team.
During the February court hearing, Tuscaloosa Police investigator Brandon Culpepper testified that Miles texted Tide freshman basketball star Brandon Miller to bring him his gun. Police have said another player, guard Jaden Bradley, was also at the scene.
“This whole situation is just really heartbreaking, but respectfully that’s all I’m going to be able to say on that,” Miller told reporters Wednesday in his first public comments about the case.
Neither Miller nor Bradley have been charged with any crime. Both continued to play as the number four team in the country plays this weekend in the Southeastern Conference Tournament and
will likely have good seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
In the postgame news conference, Miller was asked his thoughts on the indictment. He said, “I can’t – I’m not going to be able to say on that.”
Coach Nate Oats was asked whether he has a weapons policy for his team, and said that “our players are required to follow the university policy on guns, which essentially bans them on campus.”
He also was asked who was involved in deciding whether Miller and Bradley could continue to play.
“It’s been a difficult situation, as you understand. I mean, we’re dealing with a criminal matter,” Oats said, adding that as the school received “facts from law enforcement as they do their investigation,” “This was a decision made, based on all the facts we had, with, obviously, my boss, (Director of Athletics) Greg Byrne; his boss, (President) Dr. (Stuart) Bell; and the Board of Trustees.”
“Everybody was comfortable, and based on the information we had, Brandon didn’t break any school policy or team policy, so … I was comfortable with the decision that was made,” Oats said.
Harris’ mother told reporters last month that she is frustrated by the focus on basketball instead of her daughter’s death. She said her daughter was a beautiful person who was trying to have a night out with friends when she was killed.
“She has a five-year-old son that is still waiting for his mother to come home,” DeCarla Heard told reporters. “I want justice for my grandson.”
Oats was asked Friday whether he has spoken to Harris’ family.
“Listen, this whole situation has been, obviously, as you know, hard to deal with, tragic, to have any involvement in a young woman losing her life. What you ask is a private matter. I’m not going to discuss publicly with everybody,” he said. “A lot of this is just hard to deal with, to be honest with you. But it’s a private matter.”