Alabama star and projected No. 3 draft pick Brandon Miller has avoided being charged with a crime relating to the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris.
Fellow Alabama player Darius Miles was escorted from the campus by police and charged with capital murder following the shooting.
Miller, on the other hand, wasn’t mentioned in early reports of the shooting. But during a hearing on Tuesday, law enforcement dropped the bombshell that Miller took the gun to Miles.
This was a major twist in the case and made the shooting an even more high-profile one as national media attention intensified. But it was then determined there was no evidence that Miller intended to assist in a crime.
Alabama has also announced Miller won’t be suspended, a decision which has outraged the victim’s family.
“It’s just unimaginable, and it’s like his life is just going on,’’ Harris’ mother DeCarla Cotton told USA Today. “He took a brief pause and it didn’t stop. It’s like, OK, slap on the wrist and go play ball.”
College hoops reporter Gary Parrish believes Miller would have been suspended if he wasn’t one of the best players in college basketball.
“Players are suspended all the time for smoking weed, or missing curfew or skipping class,” Parrish said on TMZ Live. “Brandon Miller, at the best version of this story, is a star basketball player who was driving around Tuscaloosa well after midnight with a loaded gun in his car. He arrived at a scene where an altercation was going down, and the gun that he brought to that scene was used to take the life of a 23-year-old woman. If you don’t have a rule in your program that those actions violate, I don’t know what type of program you’re actually running.”
Meanwhile, Alabama head coach Nate Oats was heavily criticized for his dismissive comments about the shooting.
“Can’t control everything everybody does outside of practice,” he said. “Nobody knew that was going to happen. College kids are out, Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”
Oats later issued a statement saying, “In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.’’
Miller has continued to play, suiting up as recently as Wednesday in a road game against South Carolina.
The fans showed no mercy with chants of “lock him up” but Miller responded with a career-high 41 points and eight rebounds in a 78-76 win.