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Wrongful death suit filed vs. ex-Bama star Miller

Wrongful death suit filed vs. ex-Bama star Miller

The family of a woman killed in a shooting on the Tuscaloosa strip near the University of Alabama campus has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against three men, including former Alabama star Brandon Miller, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft.

The other two men named in the complaint are former Alabama player Darius Miles and Michael Davis, who are facing capital murder charges in the shooting death of Jamea Jonae Harris, 23, on Jan. 15. Miller was not charged with a crime.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Western Division and demands a jury trial to award damages. The plaintiff, Decarla Raietta Heard, is Harris’ mother and the representative of her estate.

Harris, accompanied by her boyfriend, were in Tuscaloosa visiting her cousin when she was shot in the early morning hours of Jan. 15.

Heard is represented by attorneys Kirby D. Farris and Malia D. Tartt of the Farris, Riley & Pitt law firm in Birmingham, Alabama. In the lawsuit, they allege Miles, Davis and Miller “knew or should have known that bringing a dangerous weapon to a dispute and discharging said weapon would likely result in harm.” In addition, the complaint alleges that “as a direct or proximate consequence of the negligence or wantonness of each of the defendants,” Harris was caused to suffer serious injuries resulting in her death.

Miller, a rookie with the Charlotte Hornets, signed a contract in July worth $49 million over four years. He will make $11 million in the first year of the contract.

A police investigator testified during a February hearing that Miller had been at the scene of the fatal killing and that the gun police say was used in the killing of Harris was retrieved from the back of Miller’s car.

But Miller’s attorney, Jim Standridge, said Miller had “no knowledge of any intent to use the weapon” and that he never touched the gun nor was he involved in its exchange or did he know that illegal activity involving the gun would occur.

“Further, it is our understanding that the weapon was concealed under some clothing in the back seat of his car,” Standridge wrote in a February statement.

Farris told ESPN that Harris’ family wants to know the truth in detail about what happened that night.

“They would like to hear testimony from all three of the young men involved concerning what they did, said and saw,” Farris said. “The family would like the opportunity, through their attorneys, to investigate why and how the gun was brought to the scene of a confrontation that resulted in the death of their daughter. Once we have had the opportunity to evaluate the evidence in the case, we can make decisions about the degree of culpability, if any, of each.”

Farris noted that a person can be liable in a civil action and not necessarily be guilty of a criminal act. Farris added that his firm has contacted the attorneys representing Davis and Miles and has also spoken to an attorney representing the Hornets.

“Am I surprised that this lawsuit has been filed? No,” said Davis’ attorney John Robbins. “I haven’t reviewed the lawsuit but Michael will take the appropriate steps to defend himself in this lawsuit as he is in the criminal case.”

Miller had addressed the shooting with reporters in March, saying, “I never lose sight of the fact that a family lost one of their loved ones that night. This whole situation is just really heartbreaking.”

ESPN’s Liz Merrill contributed to this report.

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Chris Low

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