February 7, 2023

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Darius Miles: After a University of Alabama basketball player is charged with the murder of a 23-year-old woman, her mother shares what led to the fatal shooting



CNN

After he was University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles for murder In the death of a 23-year-old mother who was removed from the team, the victim’s loved ones say she was shot and killed when she rejected a man who tried to flirt with her.

Miles, 21, and Michael Lynn Davis, 20, were arrested and charged with first degree murder in the killing of collector Jonai Harris near campus early Sunday, the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit said.

Authorities said Miles was the only person associated with the University of Alabama involved in the shooting. On Sunday, the university’s athletics department announced its exclusion from the basketball team.

When police returned fire at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said, they found Harris had been fatally shot while in a car less than a half-mile from campus.

Harris’ mother, DeCarla Cotton, told CNN that Harris and her boyfriend drove to Tuscaloosa from Birmingham to visit her cousin, who is a student at the University of Alabama.

Harris’ friend told Cotton that the three were getting something to eat after a night out when a man approached Harris and began flirting with her, the mother said.

“He was making advances on her and she refused his attention. He refused to go away,” Cotton told CNN. “As they were trying to leave, a man walked up to the car and started shooting.”

Harris’ friend fired back and hit one of the suspects, Cotton said. She added that the suspect later went to a local hospital, which helped link him to the shooting. Investigators said one suspect was hit by return fire and sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Authorities have not identified the suspect who allegedly shot the car or who was injured. The Violent Crimes Unit said both suspects are being held without bail.

Jack Kennedy, commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, said the motive for the shooting appeared to be “a simple altercation these individuals had with the victim while they were out on The Strip,” a hub of restaurants and businesses near the university’s campus.

“She wasn’t a troublemaker,” Cotton said of her daughter. “She was a hardworking mother who got up every day to take care of her son,” said Cotton.

Harris’s 5-year-old son is staying with Cotton, the mother said. “I haven’t found the words to explain it to him yet,” she said.

Miles’ attorneys said in a statement obtained CNN affiliate WBRC that Miles and his family are “heartbroken” by Harris’ death, but that he “remains innocent and looks forward to his day in court”.

Miles, who is from Washington, D.C., is a junior at the university, according to an archived copy of the men’s basketball team roster. The archived page shows he was in the midst of playing his third season as a catcher for the Alabama Crimson Tide before he was removed from the team on Sunday.

The weekend’s events are “tragedy all around,” University of Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oates said at a news conference Monday.

“I just want to start today by offering our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jamie Juney Harris, a young woman, daughter and mother who was taken so early from a senseless act,” he said at the opening of the conference.

Oates said the team met Sunday night to talk about the shooting and arrest of his colleague.

Former University of Alabama forward Darius Miles in a game against Jacksonville State on December 18, 2021.

“We’re continuing to support each other as we process this and balance school and basketball,” he said.

Oates said the team will continue to practice in preparation for Tuesday’s game against Vanderbilt University.

“I hope we don’t have to address this situation, but we do have to come together as a team at this point and… really be there for each other,” Oates said, adding that players are aware of additional support services available on campus and within the athletics department. .

The university said it was cooperating with the investigation, along with the athletics department.

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