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Police: Tide’s Miller delivered gun used in shooting

Alabama freshman basketball standout Brandon Miller brought a teammate the handgun that was used to kill a woman last month, according to police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Tuscaloosa detective Branden Culpepper testified Tuesday that Miller brought Darius Miles’ gun to him on the night of the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris, after Miles texted him and asked him to do so.

Culpepper’s testimony came during a preliminary hearing for Miles and Michael Lynn Davis, who face capital murder charges for the death of Harris, who was shot and killed near the University of Alabama’s campus on Jan. 15.

Investigators wrote in a court document that Miles, who has since been removed from the Crimson Tide program, admitted to providing the gun used in the fatal shooting, but Davis fired the weapon.

Culpepper said Tuesday that Miles told Davis where his gun was in Miller’s car.

Miller has not been charged with a crime, and Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said in a news conference later Tuesday that the program had been aware of Miller’s alleged link to the case. Paula Whitley, Tuscaloosa chief deputy district attorney, told AL.com on Tuesday that “there’s nothing we could charge [Miller] with.”

Both Davis and Miles wiped away tears as their mothers’ took to the stand to testify that they would make sure their sons would follow rules if granted bond, but that request was later denied by Tuscaloosa County District Judge Joanne E. Jannik.

The case will be sent to a grand jury.

The shooting occurred on the Strip, a business district of bars and restaurants that cater to students near the Tuscaloosa campus. Harris was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when she was struck by a bullet, police said.

Oats said Tuesday that the program has been “fully cooperating with law enforcement the entire time” and that the “whole situation is sad.”

“We knew about that,” Oats said when asked about Miller allegedly bringing the gun to Miles. “Can’t control everything anybody does outside of practice. Nobody knew that was going to happen. … Brandon hasn’t been in any type of trouble, nor is he in any type of trouble in this case. Wrong spot at the wrong time.”

Oats later sought to clarify what he termed his “unfortunate remarks” after receiving criticism on social media.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Oats acknowledged that his comments “came across poorly.”

“We were informed by law enforcement of other student-athletes being in the vicinity, and law enforcement has repeatedly told us that no other student-athletes were suspects,” Oats said. “They were witnesses only. Our understanding is that they have all been fully truthful and cooperative.

“In no way did I intend to downplay the seriousness of this situation or the tragedy of that night. My prayers continue to go out to Jamea Harris’s family.”

Miller is the leading scorer for the second-ranked Crimson Tide, averaging 18.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He is a projected top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers presented diverging accounts of the shooting. Whitley told the judge that there was ample evidence to proceed with the case against Miles and Davis.

A defense lawyer, meanwhile, suggested during Tuesday’s hearing that Miles was reacting defensively when he told Davis where the gun was located.

“The reason that the gun was provided to Michael Davis was for protection,” Mary Turner argued.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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