A central witness in the 2002 shooting that handed Corey "C-Murder" Miller a life sentence has recanted, and claims police blackmailed him into making his original testimony, according to a report from The New Orleans Advocate. The revelations were made on an episode of the TV program Reasonable Doubt, airing June 27 on Investigation Discovery.
The witness, named Kenneth Jordan, now swears that he did not see Miller shoot and kill 16-year-old Steven Thomas at a Lousiana nightclub in 2002. He also said under oath that detectives in Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office harassed him and his family, and said he would face a 10 year sentence in jail on unrelated charges if he did not testify in court against Miller. Miller was convicted in 2009 and is currently serving a life sentence in Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Jordan originally testified seeing Miller approach Thomas after a fight and shoot him once in the heart. Now, he says definitively that wasn't the case. “I know that the individual who I saw shoot the gun was not Corey Miller,” Jordan says in the new affidavit. "JPSO officers told me that if I testified against Corey Miller I could 'go home'; they told me what to say; they fed me facts about the fight and details about the DJ and the dance party, none of which I really knew."
Jordan says police threatened him with serious charges if he didn't testify against Miller. Jordan was questioned by police over a year after the shooting, shortly after the death of his newborn daughter. The girl's 16-year-old mother was convicted of manslaughter, and Jordan says police threatened to prosecute him with violating Lousiana's age of consent laws if he didn't comply with their demands.
A second witness named Darnell Jordan testified against Miller in court, but according to The Advocate, the episode of Reasonable Doubt calls his testimony into question as well. Jordan, a security guard, now claims he did not see a gun on Miller's person when he "grabbed" the rapper during the nightclub confrontation.
Miller's attorney Paul Barker is calling for a new trial. In a legal filing made Tuesday, he wrote: “On countless occasions (both prior to making his statement and prior to testifying at trial), Mr. Jordan told members of law enforcement and prosecution that his 2003 recorded statement to the JPSO officers was not true, that the person he saw commit the shooting was definitely not Corey Miller, and that he did not want to lie under oath about Corey’s involvement.
He added: "At no time during the 15+ years of proceedings in this tortured case has the state once disclosed this information to Mr. Miller himself, or to Mr. Miller’s attorneys.” Barker will file a claim of absolute innoncent, asking the judge to rule on whether or not the new testimony constitutes "conclusive" evidence, enough to overturn the original conviction.
C-Murder has maintained his innocence publicly and in lyrics contained in the four rap albums he's released from prison. In February his brother Percy "Master P" Miller announced that C-Murder had begun a hunger strike to protest prison conditions. His most recent appeal in 2011 was denied, and in 2017 he was ordered to pay the Thomas family $1.15 million.