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Alabama basketball star arrested for capital murder of 23 year old woman

By Sarah May
|
January 16, 2023

In a disturbing story out of the collegiate sports world, University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles is now facing a charge of capital murder resulting from a shooting early Sunday morning that killed a 23-year-old female, as ESPN.com reports.

Miles, 21, a junior reserve forward on the Crimson Tide squad was booked into jail in Tuscaloosa County along with 20-year-old Michael Lynn Davis, who is also facing a capital murder charge stemming from the incident that claimed the life of Birmingham-area resident and mother of one, Jamea Harris.

Early morning altercation

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Harris was in Tuscaloosa visiting her boyfriend and cousin, and in the wee hours of Sunday morning, the trio became entangled in some sort of altercation with Miles and Davis.

Harris was riding in the passenger seat of a vehicle when Miles and Davis are said to have opened fire into the car, the driver of which shot back, injuring one of the suspects in what he said was an act of “self-defense.”

Local investigators have indicated that trouble between the two groups stemmed from an argument that occurred on “The Strip,” a popular area near the University of Alabama campus, and Harris' mother has stated that Miles became enraged when her daughter refused to engage in conversation with him.

In a separate report, the Daily Mail revealed that Ring doorbell footage taken near the scene of the shooting showed that 11 shots were fired in two bursts, sending pedestrians fleeing in terror.

Tuscaloosa Police Captain Jack Kennedy said at a news conference, “At this time, it appears that the only motive was a minor altercation that these individuals had with the victim as they were out on The Strip,” and that those involved had no prior relationship.

Death penalty possible

Law enforcement officers were able to identify Miles and Davis as the suspected perpetrators by examining video surveillance footage and interviewing multiple witnesses who were on the scene.

As he was perp-walked out of the Tuscaloosa County Jail on Sunday, a handcuffed Miles was seen weeping as he yelled out, “I swear I love you more than you can imagine,” though it was unclear to whom that comment was directed.

Under Alabama law, as the Tuscaloosa News notes, a capital murder charge requires there to have been some kind of special circumstance involved in the offense, and in this case, it was the fact that the victim was in a vehicle when shot.

A conviction on a charge of capital murder can yield the death penalty or a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, though a plea agreement providing for a lesser penalty is not uncommon.

University reacts

Officials from the University of Alabama issued a statement in reaction to the killing, saying that the school's “utmost priority is the safety and well-being of the campus community. We are grieved by the incident that occurred near campus last night and extend our deepest condolences to the victim's family and friends,” as ESPN.com noted.

The university has also removed Miles' bio from its athletic department website, said he is no longer on the team, and indicated that he has “been removed from campus.”

On Saturday, prior to the violent incident on The Strip, the school announced that Miles would be out for the remainder of the basketball season due to an ankle injury, and before that, he had been absent from the squad due to what was only referred to as a “personal matter,” according to the Daily Mail.

Victim remembered

As AL.com reported, Harris is being remembered as a devoted mother with a heart of gold who was taken took soon by an act of senseless violence.

Harris' mother, DeCarla Cotton described her daughter as “a beautiful young woman who loved her family and most of all her five-year-old son Kaine.”

Kennedi Henderson, Harris' first cousin, said that the victim was “a humble soul, and she was always a happy soul.”

Summing up the shock and grief Harris' loved ones are feeling, Henderson added, “The family and I are just in disbelief that something like this has happened to her. We just ask for prayers at this time.”