Special Report – Murder At The Alabama Strip: What Would You Have Done?

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The first thing that jumped out as I drove University Boulevard on The Strip near Alabama’s campus late Friday night was the large police presence.

Police cars were parked in the median with officers in them. These were not prop cars on the interstate to discourage speeders. An officer returned my stare. Several other officers on foot stood in front of the Twelve25 Sports Bar, where Jamea Jonae Harris and her boyfriend first ran into Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and his friend Michael Lynn Davis of Washington D.C. on the weekend of Jan. 14.

Alabama star basketball player Brandon Miller later drove Miles’ gun to him just before Miles gave it to Davis. Police say Davis shot and killed Harris on Jan. 15 at about 1:45 a.m. central time near Twelve25 at Grace Street and University.


Jamea Jonae Harris, 23 and mother of a 5-year-old son, was murdered on The Strip on Jan. 15. (Photo courtesy of Al.com.)

At the corner of University and Campus Drive, a new temporary joint University of Alabama Police/Tuscaloosa Police precinct station opened recently in reaction to the Harris murder. Miles, now a former Alabama basketball player, and Davis have been in jail since Jan. 15 on capital murder charges.

University Boulevard Was Quieter Friday Night

As I drove past Twelve25, two officers rushed and pinned a man not cooperating down right in front of the bar as patrons scattered.

“Get him,” a student across the street yelled from patio of The Houndstooth (type of hat legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant wore) bar yelled. “Get him out of here!” Others cheered.

Just another Friday night on The Strip, right?

Sign on University Boulevard steps from University of Alabama campus. The Strip has bars, restaurants, coffee shops, other businesses geared to Alabama students as well as a new police station. (Photo By Glenn Guilbeau/OutKick.com).

Actually, no. Other than that isolated incident, this was a quiet Friday night without mobs of people everywhere as it is on such a night before a home football game. This was the night before No. 2 Alabama beat Arkansas, 86-83, to clinch the SEC regular season title behind 24 points from Miller, a projected top four first round NBA draft pick this June.

More Police Presence At The Strip Now

“Since everything happened last month, there has been a lot more police,” Danny Mayer, 23, of Prattville, Alabama, said Friday night on The Houndstooth patio. “We were out here Thursday and counted nine police cars. They’ve done a good job.”

Dan Best of Raleigh, N.C., who has a son at Alabama, drank coffee Saturday morning before the game on the Strange Brew Coffeehouse patio.

Jamea Jonae Harris was pronounced dead near the Walk Of Champions statues at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Jan. 15. Her boyfriend drove her from a shootout on The Strip, stopping here when he saw police. (Photo By Glenn Guilbeau/OutKick.)

“We were surprised that this happened here, because it looks like a typical college strip. It looks like a very well kept, safe place,” he said. “But we always tell our son, ‘You be smart.’ He knows that not anything good happens at 12 midnight.”


OutKick asked Best what he would do if his son was in Brandon Miller’s situation on Jan. 15. What would he say if his son called him late on a Saturday night, or early Sunday morning, and said a friend left his gun in his car and needed him to immediately bring it to him on The Strip after 1 a.m.?

“I need my joint (slang for gun),” Miles texted to Miller on Jan. 15, Tuscaloosa detective Branden Culpepper testified in a preliminary hearing Tuesday. A day after that testimony, Miller’s defense attorney, Alabama graduate Jim Standridge, said – not in court – that Miller didn’t know Miles left his gun in his car.

Advice From A Parent Of An Alabama Student

According to police, by the way, Miles and Davis were not in danger. Harris and her boyfriend were. Some Alabama fans’ and media spin has it that Miller was trying to help Miles because he was in danger. That’s not what investigators say. They say Miles shot first. Then Harris’ boyfriend returned fire.

“We don’t know for sure that Brandon knew a gun was in the car,” Best said. “I would tell my son to absolutely go pick up your friend, but if he knew a gun was involved and was in his car, then no way. Don’t go.”


Griffin Line, 24, agreed with Best.

“I think personally, I would have gone and picked my friend up,” Line, an Air Force Academy graduate training at the Air Force base in Columbus, Mississippi, said Friday night at The Houndstooth.

“But I wouldn’t have let him have a gun whether I knew it was in my car or not,” he said. “At that time of night, no one’s thinking straight. The best thing to do in that situation, is to get home and go to bed. Brandon Miller has too much going for him to let himself get in that situation.”

Line was asked if Alabama coach Nate Oats should have suspended Miller as soon as he learned Miller was involved because he delivered the gun. (Oats said last Tuesday that he learned of Miller’s involvement at the time of the murder.)

Should Brandon Miller Have Been Suspended?

“That’s a loaded question,” Line said. “There is a lot of pressure on the the Alabama coach to have a good team. But at the end of the day, he can’t think about that. He’s got to do what’s right. I think if he had suspended him back then for getting into a dangerous situation, the coach would have been out in front of the story. And Miller’s involvement would have started to go away by now as far as a story.”

Mayer said he does not have enough information.

“I don’t know for sure what Brandon knew at the time,” he said. “One story says this. Another says this, The defense attorney says this.”

Dylan Wilson, 31 and an Alabama graduate from Russellville, Alabama, was asked Saturday morning on The Strip what he would do.

“If a friend called at that time of night and said he needed his gun that he left it in my car, I would probably wait until the next day to return it to him,” he said.

Brandon Miller ‘Set A Bad Example’

Wilson also said Oats should have disciplined Miller back when he learned of his involvement soon after the murder.

“If I was the coach, I probably would have suspended him,” he said. “He set a bad example for his teammates.”

Brett Guzay, 30 and a North Alabama graduate from Muscle Shoals, disagrees.

“Brandon Miller has not been charged with anything, so Alabama shouldn’t suspend him,” he said. “He should be able to play. If you can’t charge him for a crime, then he can walk away. He’s clear, not morally maybe, but according to the law, he is.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau


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  1. So we should assume all Blacks are armed, at all times? No wonder ‘stop and frisk’ has been outlawed. Hard to feel sorry for the victims of these type of murders. The Black ‘leaders’ in this country do everything in their power to keep the perpetrators of these crimes out of jail, and on the street so they can continue their thuggish lifestyle. And until Blacks finally get fed up with the mounting Black body count, it’s best to not get within gun shot range of their activities.

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