A key prosecution witness told jurorsWednesday he was positive that Cory Miller shot a 16-year-oldduring a nightclub melee, but admitted on cross examination that henever saw the New Orleans rapper with a gun.
Miller, known as C-Murder, is charged with second-degree murderin the Jan. 12, 2002, death of Steve Thomas, who was shot andbeaten in a now-closed nightclub in Gretna, a suburb of NewOrleans.
Darneil Jordan Sr., 27, who worked security at the club, said heran toward the fight to break it up, grabbed Miller and told him tostop. Instead, he said Miller moved in, slipped his hand under the15 to 20 people beating Thomas and shot him.
"I saw him stick his hand under the pile," Jordan said."That's when I saw the muzzle flash and heard the gun shot."
During cross examination Jordan acknowledged he had never seenMiller with a gun, and did not see a gun the night of the killing.
Miller was found guilty of the charge in a 2003 trial, but thejudge overturned the conviction, siding with defense attorneys whosaid prosecutors improperly withheld criminal backgroundinformation on three key witnesses.
Earlier Wednesday, the victim's father, George Thomas, testifiedthat his son was a big fan of the rapper.
Sobbing and wiping tears from his eyes, George Thomas toldjurors that Steve was his "baby" and he thought his son was at amovie on the night of the shooting.
Thomas, 66, said his son enjoyed basketball and baseball, butloved the thought of becoming a rapper like his favorites: brothersPercy " Master P" Miller, Vyshonn "Silkk The Shocker" Miller andCorey Miller.
"He had posters all over his room of rappers," the elderThomas said as his wife left the courtroom crying. "He had a lotof them, but mostly the Miller brothers."
Using a fake ID and with gold foil covering his teeth, the teensneaked into the club to see Corey Miller and apparently got tooclose, prosecutor David Wolff said in his opening statementWednesday.
"For some reason, we're not sure why, an altercation arosebetween Steve and Corey Miller and his entourage," Wolff said."This child was beaten, this child was hit. He was on the groundbeing beaten when Corey Miller pulled a .38 revolver. He stuck hishand in among those that were brutally beating Steve and shot himin the chest."
Although there were believed to be about 400 people in the clubthat night, only about 150 were left when police secured the area.Only one person claimed to have seen the shooting, and he laterchanged his story.
Wolff acknowledged that the murder weapon was never recovered,but said three people - who later identified Miller - would testifythat he was the killer.
Defense attorney Ron Rakosky said the prosecution's case wasbased on dubious testimony and little physical evidence - none ofwhich pointed to Miller.
"He was arrested on flimsy evidence and he is being prosecutedon evidence that is even more flimsy and is less credible than itwas seven and a half years ago," Rakosky countered in his openingaddress.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Singleton, one of thefirst officers on the scene, testified that none of those presentsaid they had seen anything and the only description of the suspectwas a "black male."
If convicted of the charge, Miller, 38, could be sentenced tolife in prison.
The Miller brothers used to rap on the now-defunct No Limitrecord label, a popular producer of Southern rap through the 1990sthat was founded by Percy Miller. Corey Miller released a soloalbum last year, "Screamin' 4 Vengeance."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun