The parents of a woman murdered using a gun owned by Crimson Tide player Brandon Miller feel it is “unimaginable” that the university is allowing him to continue playing.
On Jan. 15, 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris, mother of a five-year-old boy, was gunned down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Police say that the now former Crimson Tide basketball player Darius Miles pulled the trigger. Miles and Michael Lynn Davis — who is not associated with the team — were arrested for the crime.
But freshman forward Brandon Miller has also been associated with the crime because police say the gun used to murder the woman was his and that he gave the weapon to Miles just before the shooting. After Miles returned the gun to him, Miller gave the weapon to the police once he heard of the shooting. Miller, though, has not been directly implicated in the shooting, and so far, prosecutors are saying that he didn’t know about the murder until it was done, and they are not charging him with any crimes.
The parents of the murdered woman, though, are aghast that Alabama is still letting Miller play.
Harris’s mother, DeCarla Cotton, told USA Today that it is “unimaginable” that Alabama allowed Miller to play in Wednesday’s game only a day after he turned in the gun used to kill her daughter.
“It’s just unimaginable, and it’s like his life is just going on,” Cotton said. “He took a brief pause and it didn’t stop. It’s like, OK, slap on the wrist and go play ball.”
“They’re worried about his career, but what about this 5-year-old boy? He’s the true victim in all this. He won’t have a mother anymore to influence his growing up and who he’s going to be,” she added.
Miller is Alabama’s second leading scorer and is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. On Wednesday, he scored a career-high of 41 points in his team’s overtime victory against the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
Cotton added that it should have been clear to Miller that something bad would happen when Miles asked him for the gun.
“When somebody says bring a gun to them, what do you think they’re going to do with it?” she said. “And if there was no gun, she would not be dead.”
The victim’s stepfather, Delvin Heard, blasted coach Nate Oats for his initial dismissive treatment of the news of Miller’s involvement and called the coach’s reaction “godawful” and said his comments “crossed the line Tuesday.”
“The retraction meant nothing to us because over this five-week period, he has made a habit of making reckless statements. When I say reckless, I mean statements not considering the victim in this whole thing, which is Jamea Harris,” Heard added.
In Oats’ first public comment about the incident, he dismissed Miller’s involvement and said the player was just in the “wrong spot at the wrong time.” But Oats quickly apologized for the comments, Yahoo Sports reported.
“I’m not here to make excuses, but I want to make it clear I didn’t have the details from the hearing that morning since I was coming straight from practice,” Oats said. “I used a poor choice of words, making it appear I wasn’t taking this tragic situation seriously, which we have throughout the course of it. I sincerely apologize for that.”
It is unknown if Alabama prosecutors intend to reevaluate their decision not to charge Miller.
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