Defense Attorney for Alleged Strip Slayer Says Victim’s Boyfriend Fired First
During the preliminary hearing in the capital murder case against Darius Miles and Michael Davis, Davis's attorney claimed the victim's boyfriend fired a weapon first, causing him to act in self-defense.
Davis, who also goes by Buzz, is represented by attorney John Robbins, who said the trouble started when the eventual victim's boyfriend, identified as Cedric Johnson, took issue with the way Davis was dancing in the street on the night of January 14th or the early morning of the 15th.
Johnson allegedly rolled down the window of the Jeep they were in together and told Davis to cut it out, that his girlfriend Jamea Harris and her cousin Asia Humphrey weren't interested in him.
Johnson has told investigators that Davis threatened the occupants of the Jeep before the shooting, allegedly telling the occupants "you don't know who I am."
Robbins, Davis' defense attorney, said during Johnson is the only person who reported that a threat was made and that no other witness can confirm Davis made any threat towards the victim or the occupants of the vehicle, and Johnson did not testify Tuesday.
After the argument and before the shooting, Johnson allegedly had a conversation with a group of men who had previously joined his group on the Strip that night including a friend named Shu'bonte Green.
Humphrey testified the men were talking about "the next move," like what the group would do after they left the Strip.
The defense, though, said Miles and Davis believed Johnson was getting the group together to cause trouble. That's when Miles allegedly texted his teammate Brandon Miller and asked him to drive to the area and bring a gun to the scene.
Robbins argued the men believed they were in danger, that Johnson and his friends were trying to hurt Davis after their earlier exchange of words.
Video footage shown during the hearing showed Johnson driving the Jeep and trying to get back to University Boulevard, with their headlights off and a red Chevy Malibu occupied by Johnson's friends following close behind.
Miles and Davis went to Miller's car and Davis came out with a gun.
Soon shots rang out -- eight from the .40 caliber handgun Davis allegedly fired, and four more from a revolver Johnson was carrying.
The prosecution has said Davis approached the vehicle, told Johnson something like "I told you I was going to get you," and opened fire.
Robbins said that isn't the case, and that Davis armed himself because he was worried for his safety and returned fire only after Johnson pulled the trigger first.
"The case is going to come down to who shot first. It has been our position and it will continue to be our position throughout the trial and throughout this whole thing that my client did not shoot first," Robbins said. "The first shot was fired by Cedric Johnson and once all the videos are seen, I think they will support that position."
No matter what preceded the shooting, Harris was struck in the head and Davis was hit once in the shoulder and a second bullet grazed his hip.
Johnson drove the Jeep to the nearby Walk of Champions in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium, where a UAPD cruiser was parked. Harris was pronounced dead at the scene.
Brandon Culpepper, the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit lead investigator in the case, testified that Green was present at the Walk of Champions after the shooting took place and where Harris was pronounced dead a short time later.
Green was subpoenaed to testify at the hearing Tuesday but failed to appear.
Joanne Jannik did not rule on Tuesday to grant bond to either defendant -- that decision will come in an order at a later date. Stay connected with the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on this story as they become available.