Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town said the Tuscaloosa District Attorney was correct in not charging Alabama freshman basketball star Brandon Miller in the murder of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris.
“Based on what we know, the declination by the Tuscaloosa DA is correct and Miller should not be charged,’’ Jay Town told al.com. “It doesn’t appear evidence exists that Miller knew that transferring the firearm was for an unlawful purpose, hindsight notwithstanding.”
Miller allegedly brought the gun to the scene of the shooting. The gun belonged to former teammate Darius Miles, who, along with 20-year-old Michael “Buzz” Davis, have been charged with capital murder.
Thursday, Town joined WVNN’s “The Dale Jackson Show,” to discuss why Miller was not charged in the murder case and why the university has decided to allow the basketball star to keep playing.
“(F)rom the very beginning, Brandon Miller has told the cops everything he knows,” Town said, “has told the university everything he knows, he’s told his coach everything he knows … he didn’t do anything legally wrong, and he didn’t know the gun was in the car, at least according to reports, and so when he found out, he returned it to its owner. I think it was as simple of an equation as that.”
According to Town, there would need to be more evidence that Miller knew the weapon was going to be used in a murder.
“(T)here is a distinction that is a big difference that whether or not Miller knew that a crime was going to take place,” he said. “What I think that Miller was thinking was these guys needed their weapon to defend themselves, which certainly is not the anticipation of a crime … It all boils down to: Did Brandon Miller know that Davis was going to use the gun to shoot somebody?”
The former U.S. attorney also said he doesn’t believes the DA in this case had any ulterior motive in not prosecuting Miller.
“I don’t think that the DA in Tuscaloosa County didn’t prosecute Brandon Miller because he’s Brandon Miller,” Town said. “And I don’t think Alabama kept him on the team because he’s Brandon Miller. I think that it’s just what a crummy situation that you’ve put yourself in by being stupid and answering the phone at 1:45 a.m. to be a loyal dude.”
Town said Miller might be “morally wrong” in this situation, even if he didn’t actually commit any crimes.
“You were at least morally wrong by not de-escalating this situation,” he said. “You could have stayed home, you could have not driven your car there, you could have told your friend to just leave, there’s 30,000 other options that both Miles and Miller could have taken where Miles would still be playing basketball. He wouldn’t be in jail without bond until trial, which will take place next year.”
Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” weekdays 9-11 a.m. on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee
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