University of Alabama refutes New York Times report linking men’s basketball walk-on Kai Spears to deadly shooting

Mathey Gibson, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, The University of Alabama denied a report from New York Times reporter Billy Witz linking freshman walk-on Kai Spears to the shooting that claimed the life of 23-year-old Jamea Harris in January. 

The article stated that Spears, the son of Marshall University Athletic Director Christian Spears, was inside Brandon Miller’s car during the night of the shooting.  

The University was quick to refute the claim, releasing an official statement shortly after the initial report.  

“Your story is inaccurate,” Alabama athletics wrote in a statement to the Times. “Based on the information we have, there were no current student-athletes present at the scene other than Brandon Miller and Jaden Bradley, who are both fully cooperating witnesses. From the outset, UA Athletics has fully cooperated with law enforcement and supported their investigation.” 

On Thursday, Spears released a statement of his own via social media, denying any involvement. 

“I have one thing to say – the report in the New York Times was 100% inaccurate and the writer had complete disregard for the truth,” Spears said via Instagram. “I am trying to process and cope with these false statements that somehow have been published and then seen by so many. So thankful to Alabama Athletics for refuting it on my behalf. More than anything … I remain completely heartbroken by the tragic death that occurred that night.”  

Earlier in the day, Spears’ father released a statement in his son’s defense courtesy of Marshall Athletics.  

“I am just incredibly disappointed in the irresponsible and demonstrably false reporting by the New York Times,” Spears said. “We are exploring all legal options at this time. I will have no further comment, instead deferring to the University of Alabama’s statement on the matter.” 

On Feb. 21, a police investigator testified that the gun used in the fatal Jan. 15 shooting was transported to the scene in Miller’s car.  

Miller, who has been labeled a cooperative witness in the investigation, has not been charged with a crime, and his attorney, Jim Standridge of Crownover and Standridge, LLC, said that Miller “had no knowledge of intent to use any weapon” in the events leading to Harris’ death.  

Former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles, 21, and Michael Davis, 21, were arrested and charged with capital murder the following day.  

Investigators believed that the weapon used to kill Harris belonged to Miles but was used by Davis after a handoff in the backseat of Miller’s car, which was struck by gunfire.  

Both Miles and Davis remain jailed and have been denied bond, being indicted by a grand jury on capital murder charges on March 10.  

Questions or comments? Email Blake Byler (Sports Editor) at [email protected]