Darius Miles Acted In ‘Self-Defense’ Before Murder? Really? Judge Doesn’t Buy It At Bond Hearing

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Strike two on Alabama basketball player Darius Miles’ attempts at bail happened Wednesday at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.

Miles, 21, remains in jail in Tuscaloosa on a capital murder accomplice charge in the shooting death of young mother Jamea Jonae Harris, 23, of Birmingham on Jan. 15 on the Alabama Strip.

And strike one on a curious self-defense argument by Miles’ attorney Mary Turner. She made an empassioned plea to that end in Tuscaloosa County circuit court judge Daniel Pruet’s courtroom Wednesday to no avail. Pruet denied bail. On Feb. 21, district court judge Joanne M. Jannik also denied bail.

Darius Miles Has Been Jailed Since Jan. 15

A junior forward from Washington D.C., Miles has been in jail since Jan. 15. Alabama coach Nate Oats kicked him off the team at that point.

Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles shoots against LSU on March 05, 2022, at LSU. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“Miles moved his girlfriend and another individual away from the scene before the shooting,” lead prosecutor and assistant district attorney Paula Whitley argued in court Wednesday against bail for Miles.

Her descriptions of Miles actions did not sound much like self-defense, particularly if he had time to premeditate moving those close to him. Something was about to happen from his end, and he had not been fired upon at that point.

Jamea Jonae Harris’ Future ‘Wiped Out’

Whitley also pointed out that Miles furnished the murder weapon to his childhood friend Michael Lynn Davis of Washington, D.C. Davis also remains in jail on capital murder charges as authorities said he shot Harris numerous times, killing her. This was after she deflected his advances at a bar on the Strip on University Boulevard near the Alabama campus, police said.

Davis has a hearing on July 21 concerning an attempt by his attorney, John Robbins, to get him youthful offender status. Davis was 20 at the time of the murder.

“Miles provided a loaded gun to Davis, a person who was supposedly one of his closest friends,” Whitley said. “Jamea Harris was a mother, a daughter, a girlfriend, a special young lady who’s future is wiped out. She will not get to see her son play basketball.”

Detective Said Miles, Davis Were Not Threatened

During a preliminary hearing on Feb. 21, Whitley asked Tuscaloosa Police detective working the case, Brandon Culpepper, if Miles and Davis told him they ever felt threatened by Harris and her boyfriend Cedric Johnson. Under oath, Culpepper said, “No.”

I’m no lawyer, but surely some threat would be needed for self-defense.

The court arraigned Miles. After hearing the charges against him, he pled not guilty through his attorney. He stared at the ground after Pruet denied bond. Officers re-handcuffed him and led him back to jail, according to the Tuscaloosa News. He will await an immunity hearing where Turner can argue again that Miles acted in self-defense with Davis. Good luck with that.

“This is a man that is entitled to a bond on this charge who would not be the only one who’s gotten bond in this circuit,” Turner said during the hearing. Interesting comment here. The fact that others before Miles got out on bail has nothing to do with Miles.

She then showed numerous slides of what former Alabama teammates, friends, family members and mentors wrote on Miles behalf.

“He is people’s sunlight when they need it,” wrote former Alabama basketball player Juwan Gary, who played with Miles in the 2021-22 season.

Darius Miles ‘A True Family Man?’

“A true family man,” returning Alabama senior guard Jahvon Quinerly wrote. Quinerly and fellow current Alabama player and brother Jaden Quinerly attended the hearing along with former Alabama player Noah Gurley.

“Caring, compassionate, kind and unselfish,” wrote mental health counselor Suzette Smalley.

Miles missed several games last season for what coach Nate Oats called “personal reasons.” A day before the murder, Alabama announced that Miles was done for the 2022-23 season because of an ankle injury that had hampered him. But he would return for the 2023-24 season, the release said.

“He’s had multiple issues,” Oats said. Oats kicked Miles off the team following his murder charge.

“One of the most respectful, well-behaved young people,” Pastor Michael Wingard wrote.

The power point presentation did not push Pruet to bail. Maybe because none of the comments had anything to do with the case. None of the comments shed any light on what Miles did on Jan. 15. In many ways, what he did before Jan. 15 does not matter, particulary in court.

After the hearing, Turner gave a statement to the Tuscaloosa News. She repeated her stance and said that Harris’ boyfriend Cedric Johnson initiated things on Jan. 15. That went against testimony from police at the scene and detective Culpepper in the preliminary hearing on Feb. 21. Turner issued a subpoena to Harris, who attended the hearing. The Tuscaloosa district attorney’s office also issued Harris a subpoena.

Darius Miles And Michael Davis ‘Circled By Gunmen’

“We stand by our previously stated position that Darius Miles should not be charged with capital murder, is not guilty of capital murder, and should not be denied bond in this case,” Turner said. “Cedric Johnson initiated this incident, gathered his gunmen, and circled Darius and others in a jeep with the lights turned off as a hawk circles its prey. We will continue to fight for Darius in all aspects of this case, including bond.”

Turner’s and Whitley’s view of events of Jan. 15 obviously differ drastically, particularly the part about Johnson gathering “his gunmen.” There has been no solid proof or testimony yet that anyone shot or was ready to shoot other than Michael Lynn Davis and Cedric Johnson.

Such dramatically differing views of what happened should make for a very interesting trial, should it come to that.

Meanwhile, video evidence of the murder and what led to it and other discovery items involved in the case were deemed “not ripe for review” at this time by Pruet. This includes various video of the events of Jan. 15, possibly including extensive and exclusive videos seen and reported on by the Patch website in Alabama on March 18.

“The videos reveal weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against the two men (Miles and Davis),” Ryan Phillips of Patch wrote two months ago.

Will anyone else ever see said extensive and exclusive video of the night of Jan. 15? And will they be as convinced as Phillips.

Will Phillips be Alabama’s version of Baghdad Bob? Or will he right in the end? It could be one hell of a trial along the lines of the best Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowls.

But at the moment, Pruet apparently does not see the prosecution’s case as weak as far as his decision on bail for Miles.

But this game may be just tipping off. 

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at www.acadianhouse.com, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.


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