The capital murder case involving former University of Alabama basketball player Darius Miles took a turn with new info that the altercation was over an unrequited romantic advance toward the victim.
The mother of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris, who was shot and killed on Sunday close to the University of Alabama, revealed that her daughter, along with the daughter’s boyfriend and cousin who attends the school were out getting some food when the chaos erupted.
The victim’s mother, DeCarla Cotton, gave more context to CNN on what happened before the fatal shooting. The trio, who were getting a meal after their night out, were interrupted by a man who walked up to Harris and began to flirt with her.
What Happened To Jamea Jonae Harris?
“He was advancing on her and she declined his attention. He refused to go away,” Cotton said to CNN. “While they were attempting to leave, one gentleman walked up to the car and started shooting.”
If the men took offense at their unwanted advances, or the fact that Harris had her boyfriend with her, and started shooting, it is one of the most egregious cases of unrequited romantic attention ever. What makes it worse is that Harris was in town from Birmingham to see her cousin, a student at the university.
Not So “Minor Altercation”
Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit revealed to CNN that the motive for the shooting was “a minor altercation that these individuals had with the victim as they were out on The Strip,” an area hub for restaurants and businesses serving those close to the university’s campus.
The victims mother gave more chilling detail to AL.com which lists her name as DeCarla Heard. The trio sat in their car, waiting for their food when one of the accused came to the car to talk to Harris.
“She (the cousin) said they were dancing around the car trying to get their attention,’’ Heard, neé Cotton, said. “They were like, ‘We got a boyfriend, we don’t want to talk.’ They kept going on and on and eventually her boyfriend in the back seat rolled down the window. He was like, ‘She already told you she got a boyfriend, you need to leave.’’’
That’s when one of the suspects reportedly said, “You don’t know who I am, you don’t know what I do, I smack people.”
The victims mother continued, “I’m not for sure which one was saying what. The guy kept saying, ‘I smack people, you don’t know who I am.’”
That’s when Harris’ boyfriend felt the need to remove the group from the threat of danger, telling the women that they should all leave.
“He didn’t feel comfortable, something might happen,’’ she continued. “He was like, ‘Let’s get out of here.’’’
Who Got Shot?
However, because they were still waiting for their food order, they didn’t immediately leave. The mother believes that the car the group was in was then blocked, and one of the accused approached the vehicle with a gun.
“He walked up to the car and pulled a gun,” she said.
Shots were then fired.
Cotton said her daughter’s boyfriend returned fire, hitting one of the alleged attackers, 20-year-old Michael Lynn Davis from Maryland. He was eventually arrested and charged with capital murder after checking into a hospital for his injury.
On Monday, both the 21-year-old Miles and Davis appeared in court. The two men are being held without bail, and the depositions of witnesses to police point to Davis as the shooter but say that he received the gun from Miles.
“Darius Miles admitted to providing Michael Davis with the handgun immediately prior to the shooting,” Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Office Investigator Brenden Culpepper said in a deposition for Miles’ case. Miles’ family said in a statement to local WBRC-TV that he “maintains his innocence and looks forward to his day in court.”
Harris was a mother of a 5-year-old who was with her mother that night.
“She wasn’t a troublemaker,” the victim’s mother told CNN about her daughter. “She was a hardworking mother who got up every day to take care of her son. “I haven’t found the words to explain this to him yet.”
A University Mourns
Miles, a Washington, D.C. native, was a junior on the University of Alabama basketball team; they released him. The school also released a statement in the aftermath of the fatal incident.
“The University of Alabama’s utmost priority is the safety and well-being of the campus community. We are grieved by the incident that occurred near campus last night and extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and friends,” the school statement read.
“We are grateful for the quick and thorough response of law enforcement and emergency response teams, and we will continue to fully support the ongoing investigation. We were made aware of the recent charge against student-athlete Darius Miles; he has been removed from campus and is no longer a member of the Alabama men’s basketball team.”
Nate Oats, the head coach of the University of Alabama men’s basketball team spoke to the media on Monday.
“I just want to start today by offering our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jamea Jonae Harris, a young woman, daughter and mother who was taken way too soon from a senseless act,” University of Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats said during a Monday press conference.
“We’re continuing to support each other as we process this and balance school and basketball. “I wish we weren’t having to address this situation, but we’ve got to pull together as a team at this point and really be there for each other.”
Alabama Played On Sunday
As news emerged that one of their prominent teammates would be charged with capital murder, Alabama traveled to Nashville and beat Vanderbilt, 78-66, at Memorial Gymnasium.
Vandy coach Jerry Stackhouse addressed the tragedy with his team and told them to keep the memory of the victim in their hearts and pray for Miles’ family.
“I’m so hurt for that kid’s family, that young lady’s family that didn’t feel like they were going to be losing their loved one … and we’re here to win a basketball game, so just be thankful that you have this opportunity to come out and compete. That’s all I said. You’ve got this opportunity and a kid that we got to know and compete against, that probably doesn’t ever happen for him again.”
Probably. In the same way that just breathing will never happen again for Jamar, the mother or a five-year old boy.