Attorneys Say Darius Miles Was Illegally Questioned After Strip Shooting
Defense attorneys for former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles are asking a judge to throw out everything he told police the morning he was involved in a deadly shooting on the Tuscaloosa Strip, arguing that he was not properly read his rights and the information was obtained illegally.
Miles has been in the Tuscaloosa County Jail without bond facing a capital murder charge since January 15th, when 23-year-old Jamea Harris was fatally shot during a gunfight between Miles' lifelong friend Michael Davis and Harris' partner Cedric Johnson.
Investigators said Miles gave Davis the handgun he used in the shootout and charged both men with capital murder. Defense attorneys argue Johnson and a group of his friends were the aggressors that night, and that Davis was acting in fear of his own life and in self-defense when he armed himself with Miles' gun and exchanged shots.
In a motion filed Sunday. Mary Turner, Kayla Griffin and Grace Prince asked Circuit Judge Daniel Pruet.to suppress from the record anything that their client Darius Miles told the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit on January 15th.
According to their motion, soon after Harris was fatally shot in Cedric Johnson's car on Grace Street, he drove to the Walk of Champions, stopped when he saw a police cruiser there and spoke to police.
Based on that conversation and video surveillance footage, police developed Michael Davis and Darius Miles as possible suspects in a murder investigation, and a pair of investigators drove to an apartment complex on 15th Street in Tuscaloosa to interview him.
Miles reportedly spoke to police for four hours, first at the apartments then in an interrogation room at a police facility, although the motion did not say if that was at the Tuscaloosa Police Department or the VCU's office at the sheriff's office.
The lawyers said it was only after four hours of interrogation that a VCU investigator ever read him his Miranda Warning, which advise criminal suspects of their rights to remain silent and to legal representation.
Four hours in, the investigators reportedly read Miles his rights, but called it "just a procedural thing we do because somebody was murdered," the attorneys said.
"Telling Darius that reading him Miranda was 'just a procedural thing we do' because someone died makes any waiver by Darius unvoluntary, unknowing, and not intelligently made," the defense attorneys wrote.
The attorneys also alleged that the VCU "asked for his “autograph”,
and asked Darius if he was going to put his basketball jersey number beside his signature."
Turner, Griffin and Prince said when the VCU investigators did read Miles his Miranda Warning, they were required by law to tell him that anything he'd said before that time was inadmissible in court.
They allegedly did not do so, had him repeat those statements post-Miranda, then "used the same previous illegally obtained statements to confront Darius."
"Miller’s 'question first' strategy and use of mid-stream Miranda warnings violated
Darius’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination," the attorneys wrote. "Therefore, all statements given by Darius Miles to law enforcement were illegally obtained and are inadmissible."
Miles remains in the Tuscaloosa County Jail without bond after a hearing earlier this month to assess claims of self-defense ended without a ruling from Pruet. That ruling is scheduled to resume later this month.
For updates on this new motion, the self-defense hearing and more as they develop, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.