Crime: Second-Degree Murder
Sentence: Currently serving a life sentence at Angola State Prison in Louisiana.
On the West Bank of the Mississippi River, in New Orleans suburb of Harvey, Louisiana, 16-year-old C-Murder fan Steve Thomas was shot and killed in January, 2002. No witnesses could claim Cory Miller had fired the gun that killed Thomas, and accounts of his proximity to the victim varied widely.
After his arrest, his initial $2 million bail was revoked, when Judge Martha Sassone decided that if he was released, it might be dangerous for witnesses to the shooting. Soon after, he and two deputies were caught trying to smuggle in a cell phone, which, according to the assistant district attorney, was going to be used to intimidate potential witnesses.
Later on, an inmate claimed that Miller had planned to threaten Assistant District Attorney Douglas Freese or his family, although the witness admitted he hoped for leniency in his unresolved cases. During his time in jail, Miller continued to release music, including tracks that were recorded from behind bars.
The case finally began in September 2003, with an all-white jury. Although one witness initially identified Miller as the shooter, she doubled back on her story. And the prosecutors soon discovered that a tape of the events of the night had been taped over by the club’s owners.
The defense called their own witnesses, all five of whom denied that Miller had shot Thomas; however, none of them could describe what the shooter did look like. The jury decided after less than four hours that Miller was guilty of second-degree murder, and he was sentenced to life without parole.