TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama basketball star Brandon Miller gave a teammate the gun that was used in a fatal January shooting near campus, an investigator testified Tuesday.
Miller, a top freshman, brought him Darius Miles’ gun the night of the shooting after Miles texted him and asked him to, Tuscaloosa Police Detective Brandon Culpepper testified, according to news reports.
The allegation of Miller’s involvement on the night of the January 15 shooting came during a preliminary hearing for Miles and Michael Davis, who face capital murder charges in the death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris.
Former Tide player Miles is accused of supplying his gun to Davis, who fired it and killed Harris, prosecutors say.
Alabama coach Nate Oats told reporters Tuesday that the team was aware that Miller allegedly brought the gun to Miles, but the team’s leading scorer is not in “any kind of trouble.” He started every game from the shootout.
Miller was just “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Oats said, later clarifying what he called “unfortunate remarks” after receiving criticism on social media.
“We’ve known the situation,” Oats said at a news conference on Tuesday. “We have been fully cooperating with law enforcement throughout. I mean, the whole situation is just sad. The team closed the training session with a prayer for today’s situation, knowing that today we had this test. Think of Jamea and her family.
Miller has not been criminally charged. A team rep didn’t immediately know if Miller had an attorney.
“We knew it,” Oats said. “You can’t control everything that everyone does outside of training. Nobody knew it was going to happen. The college kids are out. Brandon hasn’t had any problems, nor is he in this case. Like the wrong place at the wrong time.
Oats acknowledged in his subsequent statement that those remarks “were poorly conveyed” and sought to clarify,
“We were notified by law enforcement that other student-athletes were in the vicinity, and law enforcement repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects,” Oats said. “They were just witnesses. Our understanding is that they have all been fully sincere and cooperative.
“I did not mean in any way to minimize the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to Jamea Harris’ family.”
The 6-foot-9 Miller is the biggest star on the second-team Tide who earned his first No. 1 AP Poll ranking in 20 years last week. He is expected to be an NBA Draft pick.
The shooting occurred on the Strip, a commercial district of bars and restaurants catering to students near the Tuscaloosa campus. Harris was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when she was hit by a bullet, police said.
Investigators wrote in a court document that Miles, who had been a junior backup forward on the team, admitted he supplied the gun used in the fatal shooting, but Davis fired the weapon.
Culpepper said Tuesday that Miles told Davis where his gun was in Miller’s car.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys have presented differing accounts of the shooting. Chief Deputy District Attorney Paula Whitley told the judge there was ample evidence to proceed with the case against Miles and Davis.
A defense attorney suggested during Tuesday’s hearing that Miles was reacting defensively when he told Davis where the gun was.
“The reason the gun was given to Michael Davis was for protection,” said Mary Turner.
Defense attorneys have requested that Davis and Miles be released on bail. District Judge Joanne Jannik did not immediately issue a decision on the bail request.
Both Davis and Miles wiped away their tears as their mothers took the stand to testify that they would make sure their children followed the rules if they were allowed a bond.
After the courthouse, Harris’ mother told reporters she was frustrated with the focus on basketball when the shooting claimed her daughter’s life.
“He has a 5-year-old son who is still waiting for his mother to come home,” DeCarla Heard told reporters. “I want justice for my nephew.”
Games on Monday
Games on Monday
#14 Kansas State 75
No. 9 Baylor 65
Keyontae Johnson scored 25 points and Markquis Nowell added 14 points and 10 assists as the host Wildcats followed up a lengthy first-half slump with a big second-half run to beat the Bears.
Cam Carter added 10 points for Kansas State (21-7, 9-6 Big 12), who trailed 34-31 at halftime before his 18-4 run gave him control. The Wildcats went from there to a school-record seventh victory over a ranked team this season.
No. 25 Texas A&M 68
No. 11 Tennesseee 63
Wade Taylor IV scored 25 points, including four free throws down the stretch, as the Aggies extended their streak to six games by downing the visiting Volunteers.
Texas A&M (21-7, 13-2 Southeastern Conference) is off to a strong start since joining the SEC in the 2012-13 season.
No. 13 Miami 76
Virginia Tech 70
Norchad Omier had 17 points and 14 rebounds as the Hurricanes defeated the Hokies on the road for their seventh straight win.
Nigel Pack added 16 points for Miami (23-5, 14-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which five players scored in double figures.
No. 16 Xavier 63
Justin Moore scored 25 points to give the Wildcats an upset victory over the host Musketeers for their biggest win under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune.
Cam Whitmore added 11 points for Villanova (14-14, 8-9 Big East), which dealt a major blow to Xavier’s title hopes in the Big East.
St John 69
No. 4 Connecticut 64
Danielle Patterson and Kadaja Bailey each scored 20 points as the Red Storm went on the road to mount a huge upset by the Huskies.
Jayla Everett added 17 points for St. John’s (20-7, 11-7 Big East), which added a huge win to its NCAA Tournament résumé, beating Connecticut for the first time in 11 years.
No. 7 Maryland 96
#6 Iowa 68
Brinae Alexander scored a season-high 24 points as the Terrapins handed Caitlin Clark and the visiting Hawkeyes their worst loss of the year.
The Iowa loss clinched the Big Ten regular season title for No. 2 Indiana, who visits Iowa in Sunday’s regular season finale for both teams.
No. 15 Villanova 67
De Paul 64
Maddy Siegrist scored 20 of her 28 points in the first half and Christina Dalce broke the single-season blocks record with 66 as the host Wildcats held off the Blue Demons.
Lucy Olsen hit two free throws with three seconds left in the third quarter to give Villanova a 56-42 lead. But the Wildcats made just two field goals in the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter as DePaul used an 18-5 run to make it 61-60 with 2:01 left.