A college freshman and star athlete at the University of Alabama has been accused of providing a weapon to a suspect who’s at the center of a murder that happened near campus last month.
According to the Associated Press, a Tuscaloosa Police investigator testified Tuesday that Brandon Miller, a six-foot-nine Crimson Tide basketball player who’s projected to be an NBA Draft lottery pick, admitted to bringing a gun to teammate Darius Miles, who then allegedly gave the gun to alleged shooter Michael Davis.
While Miles and Davis are both charged with capital murder in the January 15 shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris, Miller has yet to be charged with a crime.
According to Yahoo Sports, police also suggested that Miller might have intentionally parked his car in a manner that would block Harris and the people she was with from leaving, as did another teammate, Jaden Bradley. Still, when asked why Miller hasn’t been charged, Tuscaloosa chief deputy D.A. Paula Whitley told Al.com: “That’s not a question I can answer. There’s nothing we could charge him with.’’
Meanwhile, Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats found himself under fire after he said Tuesday that Miller is “not in any trouble” and suggested that his only crime was bad timing.
“We’ve known the situation,” Oats said in a news conference Tuesday. “We’ve been fully cooperating with law enforcement the entire time. I mean, the whole situation is just sad. The team closed practice with a prayer for the situation today, knowing that we had this trial today. You think of Jamea and her family.”
“We knew about that. Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time,” Oats said.
After getting dragged up and down Twitter for his “unfortunate remarks,” which many thought were insensitive, Oats was quick to clarify things.
Oats acknowledged in his later statement that those remarks “came across poorly” and sought to clarify,
“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects,” Oats said. “They were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative.
“In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”
Speaking of Harris’ family, her mother, DeCarla Heard told reporters that she’s just frustrated that, when it comes to Harris’ case, far too many people are talking about basketball instead of her daughter.
“She has a 5-year-old son that is still waiting for his mother to come home,” Heard said. “I want justice for my grandson.”
A lawyer for Brandon Miller has released a statement denying his involvement in any crime.
“On January 14th Brandon played in a basketball game in the afternoon and later was asked by Darius Miles for a ride to the Strip area to go to a night club,” reads the statement from attorney Jim Standridge of Crownover & Standridge, LLC, to WBRC.
“Mr. Miles brought his legal handgun and left it in the back seat of Brandon’s vehicle. Brandon never saw the handgun nor handled it. Further, it is our understanding that the weapon was concealed under some clothing in the back seat of his car.
“Before Brandon arrived to pick up Mr. Miles, Mr. Miles and the individual with Ms. Harris apparently exchanged words. Without Brandon knowing any of this context, and as Brandon was already on the way to pick up Mr. Miles, Mr. Miles texted Brandon and asked him to bring him his firearm. Brandon subsequently arrived at the scene to pick up Mr. Miles. Brandon never got out of his vehicle or interacted with anyone in Ms. Harris’ party. He was never involved in a verbal altercation with Cedric Johnson or Mr. Davis. Brandon never touched the gun, was not involved in its exchange to Mr. Davis in any way, and never knew that illegal activity involving the gun would occur.
Brandon did not block the jeep driven by Mr. Johnson. In fact, Brandon had already parked on Grace Street when the jeep pulled up behind him. The street was never blocked by Brandon’s vehicle.”
You can read the statement in full for yourself here.
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