What To Know About DA's Subpoena Of Cedric Johnson

June 25, 2023 0 By JohnValbyNation

TUSCALOOSA, AL — The Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office has issued two subpoenas ahead of the May 24 hearing for former Alabama basketball player Darius Miles and Maryland native Michael Davis, who are both accused of capital murder in the Jan. 15 shooting death of Jamea Harris.

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Court documents obtained by Patch show that subpoenas were issued Monday for Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit investigator Branden Culpepper and Cedric Johnson — Harris’s longtime boyfriend and the father of her child.

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As Patch previously reported, Johnson shot Davis twice during the altercation on Grace Street, which followed a brief verbal spat on The Strip just seven minutes before shots were fired.

Investigators insist that Davis, using a gun legally owned by Miles, fired the fatal shot that killed Harris. Both men were charged with capital murder roughly 15 hours after the shooting and have been in jail ever since, both denied bond.

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Many questions have been raised in the months that followed, particularly relating to who was acting in self-defense during the shooting.

The defense teams for both suspects have argued at every turn that their clients were the victims the morning of Jan. 15, while investigators and prosecutors have argued that it was an act of pre-meditated violence not just on the part of Davis, but also by Miles, who has been accused of providing his gun to be knowingly used in the commission of a violent crime.

Click here to read the in-depth, second-by-second account of the fatal shooting published by Tuscaloosa Patch in March.

Following the news that the two latest subpoenas had been issued, here’s a quick rundown of important things to know:

The subpoena for Johnson must now be served. It’s worth noting that Johnson appears to be the star witness for the prosecution, so it would arguably be a much bigger story if the District Attorney’s office did not subpoena him for the upcoming hearing on May 24.

The upcoming hearing on May 24. While this will be a bond hearing for Miles and Davis, it will also be a hearing that covers all other motions filed by the defense, including the motion by defense attorney Mary Turner for certain discovery documents. During this part of the hearing, Circuit Court Judge Daniel Pruet will also determine if the defense has been provided all of the discovery documents to which they are entitled.

Defense attorneys have failed in their attempts to serve their subpoena on Johnson. This can be interpreted in different ways, the first possibility being that Johnson was already in communication with prosecutors and was evading being served by the defense. Another possible scenario would be that Johnson is indeed trying to avoid going under oath to testify as to the circumstances of that night, as the defense has argued.
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No subpoenas issued for other potential witnesses. As Patch has previously reported, another focus of the defense during the court proceedings thus far has been Birmingham-area native Shu’Bonte Greene. Greene is one of the individuals who met with Johnson in the minutes just prior to the shooting, during an interaction where someone can be seen retrieving something from the truck of the red Chevy Impala driven by Greene. Greene, who has an extensive criminal record, was served his subpoena to testify during the preliminary hearing in February, but did not show up to court.

Asia Humphrey, a junior at the University of Alabama who is related to Harris, was in the back seat of Harris’ Jeep during the shooting the morning of Jan. 15. To date, little to no sworn testimony given by Humphrey in court has corroborated testimony provided by Johnson to investigators and relayed by Culpepper during the preliminary hearing. While Humphrey is a witness for the state, she was subpoenaed by the Turner Law Group to testify at the preliminary hearing and did so.

Why does Johnson’s subpoena matter? Again, this can be interpreted in several different ways, the most likely being that he will be used by the District Attorney’s Office as the star witness during the May 24 bond hearing, but also at the inevitable immunity hearing that will be held before the case goes to a jury trial. During an immunity hearing, the judge presiding over the case is given all of the available evidence to then determine if any of the parties clearly acted in self-defense. This would then allow the judge to rule on the case, thus avoiding a costly and lengthy trial. However, as is the case in many instances, if any questions are raised during the immunity hearing that could lend doubt to a clear-cut case of self-defense, then the judge will allow the matter to proceed to a jury trial.

It’s crucial to note that during the bond hearing, if Judge Pruet allows Johnson to testify, he will be subject to cross examination by the defense. However, if Johnson declines to show up at the immunity hearing or at trial, the District Attorney’s Office could attempt to use his testimony in the aforementioned proceedings as prosecutors build their case against Davis and Miles.

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