No Woman Should Have to Die for Denying a Man
Photo: Harris Family

No Woman Should Have to Die for Denying a Man

And yet, as in the tragic case of Jamea Jonae Harris, Black women are frequently the victims of this kind of violence at the hands of men

On his perp walk, Darius Miles reportedly appeared to be crying while telling someone standing outside the Tuscaloosa County Jail, “I love you more than you can imagine.”

One presumes those tears were rooted in the realization that his life as he knew it was over after being arrested for allegedly gunning down Jamea Jonae Harris, a 23-year-old mother of one.

The reason? According to Harris’ mom, DeCarla Heard, it was all because Harris had brushed him off. “Took my baby’s life because she wouldn’t talk to him," Heard wrote on Facebook, in a post featuring a photo of her late daughter and Harris' 5-year-old son, Kaine.

“It appears at this time that the shooting was the result of a minor argument that occurred between the victims and suspects after they encountered each other along The Strip,’’ Tuscaloosa police Captain Jack Kennedy explained to reporters.

Recently released court documents feature Heard describing a scene in which the shooting happened after Harris and her boyfriend went to a club with other friends and then stopped on the way home to eat food with her cousin.

Per reporting from

  • …as they were sitting in their car waiting for their food, one of the suspects approached the car and was trying to talk to Harris.

    “She (the cousin) said they were dancing around the car trying to get their attention,’’ Heard said. “They were like, ‘We got a boyfriend, we don’t want to talk.’’’

    “They kept going on and on and eventually her boyfriend in the back seat rolled down the window,’’ Heard said. “He was like, ‘She already told you she got a boyfriend, you need to leave.’’’

    One of the suspects repeatedly said, “You don’t know who I am, you don’t know what I do, I smack people.”

    “I’m not for sure which one was saying what,’’ Heard said. “The guy kept saying, ‘I smack people, you don’t know who I am.’"

Eventually, guns were pulled out, resulting in Miles, a University of Alabama basketball player, 21, along with Michael Lynn Davis, 20, having been charged with capital murder in the killing of the Birmingham native.

Police identified Miles and Michael Lynn Davis as suspects after reviewing surveillance footage and interviewing multiple witnesses. Court documents released earlier this month stated that Miles aided and abetted Davis in the shooting death of Harris as well as Miles admitting to providing Davis with the handgun prior to the shooting. According to officials, he opened fire at a car Harris was riding in near The Strip, an area near the campus.

They are currently being held without bond at the Tuscaloosa County Jail.

I am daunted by the fact that so many violent, angry men with no control of their emotions and complete contempt for women walk among us. And I am terrified that they have easier access to guns now more than ever before.

In a statement, UA Athletics said: “First and foremost, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the victim from last night’s incident. We were made aware of the recent charge against student-athlete Darius Miles, and he is no longer a member of the Alabama men’s basketball team.”

Miles might be crying because of what he allegedly did, but it’s the tears of the person suffering from the consequences of his alleged actions that actually matter. DeCarla Heard has since launched a GoFundMe for the 5-year-old her daughter leaves behind.

In the capiton, she writes:

  • “I was asked to up this fundraiser to assist with the care of my daughter’s son Kaine. Her life was taken from her at the young age of 23 in a senseless cowardly act . She leaves behind a five year old son that will never know how beautiful his mother was inside and out. She had a heart of gold and was loved by all. It’s no way to express how much she will be missed! I thank everyone that has reached out with their prayers and condolences and I appreciate however you would like to help.”

A five-year-old boy is without his mother because Darius Miles allegedly couldn’t handle being ignored.

Heard has said in spite of her loss, she wants her daughter’s legacy to be more about her life than her death. “I just don’t want her to be a name in an article,’’ she told “I want people to know she wasn’t a party girl, she just wanted to see her family. She worked hard and she wanted to have a good time with her family.”

“I want people to know she was a mother, a daughter, a granddaughter and so many people loved her,’’ she added. “I want people to know what was taken from us.”’

As frequent as gun violence is in America, these are people with families and friends and full lives that were lived until they became another victim of a problem this country refuses to deal with.

Still, it’s hard not to fixate on her death given the issues to which it points.

I often struggle with the worry that the pervasiveness of gun violence will someday numb me. Then I read stories about women like Jamea Jonae Harris being shot to death because a man didn’t give him the response he felt entitled to. I am daunted by the fact that so many violent, angry men with no control of their emotions and complete contempt for women walk among us.

And I am terrified that they have easier access to guns now more than ever before.

We should honor Jamea Jonea Harris’ mother’s request to note that she was a hard worker who loved her family and was a beloved mother, daughter, and granddaughter. We need to all know that this wonderful person was stolen from them. My only worry is what will be done to stop women like her from being stolen by ego and easy access to guns.

This post originally appeared on Medium and is republished with author's permission. Read more of Michael Arceneaux's work on Medium.

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