I would like to hear from @bamawriter
on this. May have missed it.
This will be long. Sorry in advance.
First off, I cannot for the life of me figure out why the administration did not come out with Miller's involvement before the preliminary hearing. I would be surprised if TPD asked the school to keep quiet beyond the arraignment. But in the unlikely event that the investigators asked that the school not say anything until those facts were made public, the school would have had to know that they were likely to come out in last week's hearing. Alabama has a very good law school. Surely someone on that campus could have told the administration how preliminary hearings work. The school should have had a prepared statement ready to fire off the moment Miller's name was mentioned from the witness stand. To allow Nate Oats (who I swear might be somewhere on the spectrum) to be asked in his weekly presser without even knowing that Miller's name had come up is professional negligence. Of course Oats' answer was awful. He's not very good at operating off the cuff. That's why the school has an SID department. That no one had the good sense to put a stop to the pat down intro routine back when the shooting first happened is beyond baffling. The school's response has been a total s***show, and it's completely inexcusable.
As to how they've handled Miller... I honestly don't know that right thing to do here. He hasn't been charged, and it doesn't appear that he's going to be. He's a cooperating witness. But, he's not owed the ability to play college basketball. I hope, and this may be a naive hope, that the school has a grasp on the totality of his involvement. If they do, and he's still playing, then the facts that come out over the natural course of the legal process should reflect positively on Miller. But there are so many facts that are unknown, and no one from the school, the authorities, or Miller himself are falling over themselves to offer clarity.
I'm genuinely unconcerned with the text message from Miles. Even digital forensics cannot prove whether or not Miller actually read the message in the five or so minutes between when the text was sent and when the shooting started. Nor is there any way to know, if he did read it, that he fully processed what Miles had said. While most of the statement from Miller's attorney is unhelpful due to being self-serving, it does clarify a chunk of the timeline of events. Miles sent the text at 1:38 a.m. The victims flagged down a cop by the Walk of Champions at 1:45 a.m. That's a really short window for Miller to arrive, for the gun to be retrieved, for the shooting to happen, and for the victims to flee the scene and get to the stadium. His lawyer's contention that Miller was already en route, and thus not headed there because of the text, fits within the context of the known facts. So the text is not a huge deal in my mind. I know many will want to argue with me on this point. And I'm not going to say that those folks are wrong. What I am saying is that I don't think the text is going to be a crucial piece of evidence toward Miller's culpability.
HOWEVER, there are some discrepancies and gaps in the narrative as told by the press, and Miller's attorney did little to clear them up.
First, there were two local publications that sent reporters to the hearing: Al.com and The Tuscaloosa News. All of the other reports that I've seen have been sourced by one or the other. AL.com summarized one of the detectives as saying that, when Miller arrived, Miles grabbed the gun out of the back seat, then gave it to Davis and made the comments "The heat is in the hat," and "There's one in the head." They helpfully translated them for almost-40-year-old white guys like me as meaning "I've got the gun right here" and "There's a bullet in the chamber." The Tuscaloosa News also gave a summary with the detective relaying the same statements, but this time Miles and Davis had climbed into the backseat of Miller's car and had the conversation before getting out and beginning the assault. That's a gigantic discrepancy. If Miller was present for that conversation, then the lack of knowledge argument goes right out the window. If Miller heard that conversation, then his daschcam better have caught him yelling "'There's one in the head?!?!' What the f***?!?! What do you think you're doing?!?! Get your a** back in the car!!!" Absent that, I don't know how Miller is not an accessory.
Second, we don't know how Miles and Davis made it back to Miles' apartment. We know that Miles called 911 and lied about having hitched a ride with his girlfriend to pick Davis up from downtown and having no idea how Davis had gotten shot. But there has been no clarity as to the truth of their method of travel. It's about a 45 minute walk from Grace and University to the University Downs Apartments. But one would think that a couple of guys who'd just participated in a shooting would probably not want to be on foot for that stretch of time. It was testified that Miles' girlfriend was present at the scene, so it's not outside the realm of possibility that she had a vehicle nearby and drove Miles and Davis home. However, if that's the case, why did Miles spend over an hour texting Miller to come pick him up? When Miller told him it would be a while, why not just split with the girlfriend? So that leaves the question: did Miller drive them home? If so, that blows up the lack of knowledge argument. Again, if he drove Miles and Davis home, his camera better have caught his passengers threatening him to either drive or get shot. Otherwise, how is Miller not an accessory?
So, there you have it. I told you it would be long.