A grand jury in Tuscaloosa County agreed with investigators this week and indicted both former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and his co-defendant Michael Davis on capital murder charges.

The Tuscaloosa County District Attorney's Office confirmed that a grand jury met earlier this week and returned indictments against both men.

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For those unfamiliar with the prosecutorial process, when a person is arrested and charged with a felony their case is first sent to the district court, where defendants plead either guilty or not guilty in an arraignment.

If they plead guilty, the matter can be handled entirely within the "lower" court. If they plead not guilty, the case is forwarded to a secret grand jury, who is assembled and presented evidence and then votes on whether to indict the suspect. An indictment is not a guilty verdict -- it simply means the grand jury agrees that there is probable cause to believe the suspects committed the felony.

Those who are indicted are passed up to the circuit court level, where the gears will begin slowly turning toward a jury trial to determine guilt or innocence.

Davis is accused of fatally shooting a Birmingham mother, Jamea Harris, after an altercation with a group she was with on the Tuscaloosa Strip in January.

Police say Miles, an Alabama basketball player at the time and Davis' lifelong friend, provided him with the gun used in the killing -- a gun he reportedly retrieved from the back of teammate Brandon Miller's car.

Both Davis and Miles were charged with capital murder and jailed. Miller, who police have described as a cooperative witness, has not been charged in this case and is not likely to be.

Miles and Davis were denied bond in a district court hearing last month and remain in the Tuscaloosa County Jail, where they have been held since their arrests in January.

Defense attorneys for Davis, the alleged shooter, said he acted in self-defense and evidence will show the driver of the car in which the victim was killed drew a gun and shot first.

Developments in the story are likely to slow after the indictments, as it often takes several years for a murder case to progress from an indictment to a jury trial.

For more details as they become available, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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