Alabama freshman basketball player Brandon Miller brought the gun used in the Tuscaloosa gang slaying of a woman that led to capital murder charges for his now former teammate Darius Miles and Michael “Buzz” Davis, 20, according to law enforcement testimony today.
Miles contacted Miller and asked him to bring his gun to where they were, according to police.
When Miller arrived on the scene, Miles told Davis, “The heat is in the hat.” Det. Branden Culpepper said that meant a gun was present.
Miles added: “There’s one in the head.” This, Culpepper said, meant there was a bullet in the chamber.
Miles brought his girlfriend back to get her out of the firing line, Culpepper added.
Miller’s windshield was hit twice by gunfire during the shooting, police said. Another Alabama basketball player, Jaden Bradley, was also at the scene of the shooting, according to reports.
Asked by AL.com why Miller has not been charged, Tuscaloosa Deputy Chief DA Paula Whitley said, “That’s not a question I can answer. There is nothing we can blame him for,” according to the law, she said.
Alabama coach Nate Oats said Tuesday that Miller “has no problem” because of his alleged involvement.
“We were aware of this. I can’t control everything that everyone does outside of training. No one knew this was going to happen. The college boys came out, Brandon didn’t have any kind of trouble or any kind of trouble in this case. Wrong place at the wrong time,” Oats said.
Testimony came during Tuesday’s preliminary hearing for Miles, 21, and Davis, 20, both charged with the Jan. 15 murder of Jamea Jonae Harris, 23, in Tuscaloosa.
The testimony lasted more than 2.5 hours before Tuscaloosa County District Judge Joanne Jannik.
Miles is portrayed by Mary Turner; Davis by John Robbins.
The two lawyers requested that their clients be released on bail. They claim their clients were shot in self-defense.
Miles’ mother, Tracy Harris – a veteran police officer – and Davis’ mother, Annie Davis, both testified that they would ensure their sons met all bail conditions and attended future court hearings.
The judge did not rule on bail or whether to send the case to a grand jury.
Miles and Davis sobbed as the hearing ended. Both remain being held without bond in the Tuscaloosa County Jail.
Harris, the mother of a young son, was in Tuscaloosa visiting her cousin and her boyfriend for the weekend when she was shot early in the morning.
Here’s the full coverage of the case
At approximately 1:45 a.m. that Sunday, Tuscaloosa police and University of Alabama police were dispatched to the March of Champions at Bryant Denny Stadium for a shooting.
A jeep had stopped there after seeing a police vehicle from the University of Alabama. Harris was dead inside the vehicle, Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Captain Jack Kennedy said.
Harris’ boyfriend, who drove Harris away from the scene of the shooting, told police their vehicle was hit by gunfire.
He had returned fire in self-defense and may have punched a suspect – believed to be Davis.
Investigators determined the shooting occurred in the 400 block of Grace Street, off University Boulevard.
Harris’s mother, DeCarla Heard, told AL.com the ordeal began with the suspects trying to talk to Harris, who told them she had a boyfriend and was not interested.
Court records indicate that Davis fired the fatal shots and that Miles admitted to supplying Davis with the gun.
It was announced the day before the fatal shooting that the junior forward was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury. Following news of his arrest, it was announced that Miles was no longer on the team.
Testimony from today’s hearing shows that everyone involved went to Twelve25 Sports Bar that night.
Miller dropped Miles off at the club but didn’t stay because the line was too long.
After leaving the club, Harris, her boyfriend, Cedric Johnson, and her first cousin, Asia Humphrey, stopped at a nearby grill for a bite to eat.
That’s when they met Davis, who was dancing in front of Harris’ Jeep.
Johnson told Davis his girlfriend was not interested and to move on. “It got a little high,” the detective testified.
Miles and Davis drove away from the victim’s Jeep but later returned.
Two vehicles – a Dodge Charger and a Dodge Challenger that belonged to Miles’ teammates Miller and Bradley – blocked the road where the Jeep was parked.
Miles and Davis walked over to Miller’s car and took something—assumed to be the gun—from the back seat.
Moments later, Culpepper testified, Davis began shooting through the driver’s side window of the Jeep.
He fired at least eight shots, some of which as he ran in an arc from the driver’s side to the rear of the vehicle.
It was then, the detective said, that Miller’s magazine was hit by two bullets.
Johnson, the victim’s boyfriend, fired back, hitting Davis in the shoulder.
Harris was hit on the left side of her face.
The victims went to the Walk of Champions where they found a policeman and stopped. Harris was pronounced dead there.
Culpepper testified that shortly after the shooting, police received a 911 call from Miles.
He made the call from Downs University apartments and reported that his friend had been shot.
Miles told the dispatcher and then the police that he was at the apartment when his friend – Davis – showed up with a gunshot wound.
Miles said he didn’t know where Davis was when he was shot or how it happened.
In later interviews, the detective said, Miles said he and his girlfriend picked up Davis downtown after he was shot.
Finally, Culpepper said, police told Miles the whole thing was caught on Houndstooth Bar surveillance video and that’s when he admitted to being there during the shooting.
Culpepper said some of what happened was captured on Miller’s vehicle dash cam.
After learning this, he said, Miles admitted to contacting Miller to bring him his gun and said Davis retrieved the gun from Miller’s vehicle.
He also admitted to moving his girlfriend before the shooting began.
Culpepper testified that Davis told investigators he was drunk on Tit’s tequila and did not remember what happened.
Defense attorneys claimed that Miles and Davis might have been scared.
They said they saw a gun in the victim’s vehicle and noted that when they could have left the scene before the shooting, they instead returned, turned off their vehicle’s headlights, and pulled over.