NBA basketball player Brandon Miller should be having the year of his life. Miller is playing for the Charlotte Hornets after being the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft. In July, he signed a contract worth $49 million.
But now, Miller is facing legal challenges.
He was just named in a wrongful death lawsuit that seeks to find out what happened when he was at the scene where a 23-year-old woman was shot to death. What happened, and what does it mean for Miller’s future?
A Shooting Near Campus
On the night of January 15, 2023, Brandon Miller was out with friends near the campus of the University of Alabama, where Miller played as a star forward for the Alabama men’s basketball team.
Miller dropped off his friend, Darius Miles, at a club called Twelve25. Miller decided not to go into the club because the line was too long, and he drove away.
Miles went into the club, as did Jamea Jonae Harris and her boyfriend Cedric Johnson. While there are no reports of the individuals interacting in the club, Miles approached the couple after leaving. Along with him was his friend, Michael “Buzz” Davis.
A breakdown of the events that occurred after the individuals left the club shows Miles and Davis repeatedly interacting with Harris and Johnson even after the couple told the men to leave them alone.
At some point, Miles and Davis called Miller to pick them up. According to reports, Miles told Miller to bring his gun. Sometime after Miller arrived, Davis went to Miller’s car, retrieved the gun, and shot it at the vehicle holding Harris and Johnson. Harris fired back at Miller’s car.
Davis, Harris, and Johnson were all shot.
Harris died from her injuries.
Miller’s Alleged Role in the Shooting
Both Miles and Davis were arrested and charged with capital murder. Miller was not criminally charged in the case.
But now Miller is being reintroduced in the case as Harris’s family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Western Division.
Miller is named along with Miles and Davis in the court documents.
The lawsuit alleges that Miller “knew or should have known that bringing a dangerous weapon to a dispute and discharging said weapon would likely result in harm.”
Lawyers want to talk to Miller about what he witnessed and determine whether or not his actions played a role in Harris’s death.
Miller’s attorney, Jim Standridge, has said that Miller had “no knowledge of any intent to use the weapon” and that he “never touched the gun” nor was involved in its “exchange,” according to the New York Post.
The lawsuit says the case is worth looking into. “The family would like the opportunity, through their attorneys, to investigate why and how the gun was brought to the scene of a confrontation that resulted in the death of their daughter. Once we have had the opportunity to evaluate the evidence in the case, we can make decisions about the degree of culpability, if any, of each,” the lawsuit said.
So, will Miller potentially face consequences?
Potential Consequences of Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil cases separate from criminal charges. Cases aim to hold parties accountable when their recklessness or carelessness led to the death of an individual.
Lawyers for Harris’s family say her injuries and death were “a direct or proximate consequence of the negligence or wantonness” of each of the three defendants.
While the role Miles and Davis played in Harris’s death is well documented. Harris’s family will need to show that Miller was also partly responsible. They will need to prove:
- Miller was aware of an unsafe condition but failed to act.
- Miller’s inaction directly led to the death of Harris.
- Harris’s death caused monetary and emotional damage to the family.
If Miller is found guilty, he will face no jail time. The wrongful death is a civil case. The consequences of the case would only be financial. If found guilty, Miller may owe financial compensation to the family.
Related: How Do You Sue for Wrongful Death?
Talk to a Trusted Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is one of the worst things a person can go through. We understand and are here to help you through it. If you have legal questions or concerns about the situation that led to the death of a loved one, talk to a wrongful death attorney. While the law can’t bring back your loved one, it can help to bring justice to you and your family.
Talk to a trusted wrongful death attorney today. Request an appointment or call 813-226-1023 to talk to attorney TJ Grimaldi.
TJ Grimaldi joined McIntyre in 2011. McIntyre recruited TJ to create the divisions of personal injury and family law, as well as to expand the existing criminal defense practice at the firm. During TJ’s tenure at McIntyre, he has helped oversee and grow these practice areas. He continues to practice in these divisions while also expanding his own practice areas to include estate planning and immigration law. TJ is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Florida and the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.