New and different information on the Jamea Harris tragedy


New details have become known about the January shooting that led to the tragic death of Jamea Harris.

There are actually two recent, noteworthy stories about what happened on Jan. 15. One is a report, based upon video evidence, that the first shots fired were not fired by Darius Miles’ friend, Michael Davis. Apparently, there is clear video evidence that the first shots, as in three, were fired by an individual in close proximity to Jamea Harris. There is a further contention that Davis, who returned fire quickly had already been hit by one of the initial shots – and that Davis mostly fired while running away.

Before adding to this summary, Bama Hammer readers would be best served by reading every word of what was published by Patch – Tuscaloosa. For those who are unaware of Patch, it is a media platform that provides local news and community information to over 1,200 different locations, mostly in mid-size and small U.S. markets.

The author of the linked story is journalist, Ryan Phillips. Phillips is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi. Phillips has worked in the Atlanta Bureau of the Associated Press and he was Executive Editor of the Starkville Daily News. Another writer many Alabama fans will recognize is Warren St. John, who is the President of Patch. St. John wrote the well-known book, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer.

For our readers more interested in a ‘Cliff Notes’ version of the Phillips story, the gist is Michael Davis and Darius Miles may have solid self-defense claims. If the information provided to Phillips by others is accurate, a third individual should have been charged with a crime. That individual is believed to be Cedric Johnson who fired a weapon from the driver’s side of the vehicle Jamea Harris was sitting in.

At the preliminary hearing, the police investigator stated Davis fired first. It is believed Cedric Johnson has so far avoided being served a subpoena. Johnson has not been charged with a crime.

What to make of the latest news?

Ryan Phillips is a credible professional. His cited source information is the complete transcript of the preliminary hearing and personal viewing of video evidence. The story by Phillips may match information compiled by defense attorneys representing Miles or Davis or both.

What actually happened remains unclear. What is perhaps becoming more clear is that Brandon Miller was a designated driver for the evening who as Nate Oats was panned for saying, ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The secondary story is whether this new information means the majority of media sources were far more wrong than right in earlier rushes to judgment. At least one source, BamaCentral’s Joey Blackwell wrote on Saturday night that the media owes Alabama and Brandon Miller an apology. Blackwell’s story, like this one, discussed what Ryan Phillips published. The Blackwell piece was available on the BamaCentral site for only a few hours after it was published.

A few days ago (before the latest information) Kevin Scarbinsky provided valuable insight.

"Jamea Harris didn’t deserve to die. Brandon Miller doesn’t deserve to be buried alive. Rather, Miller himself is lucky he didn’t breathe his last.A senseless tragedy has been unfairly framed as a conflict between the Harris family and Alabama basketball in general, Miller in particular. A grieving family can be forgiven its emotional, imprecise search for justice and closure. Journalists seeking the truth own a greater responsibility."

Next. Alabama and the NCAA Tournament. dark

Full disclosure to our readers; I read Blackwell’s story Saturday night. I regret it is currently not available for others to read. As Blackwell stated, the events that led to Jamea Harris’ death are too complex for anyone not directly involved to be sure of what happened. Too many in state and national media reported as though they were sure. In many cases, they have been proven wrong.