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The New York Times is standing by its report that a fourth Alabama men’s basketballplayer, Kai Spears, was present the night 23-year-old Jamea Jonae Harris was shot and killed near the university’s campus on Jan. 15, despite denials from Spears and the university.
Video surveillance reviewed by the Times allegedly showed Spears, a freshman walk-on, in a car with SEC player and newcomer of the year Brandon Miller.
Miller was previously linked to the January shooting after police testimony alleged that he transported former teammate Darius Miles’ gun to the scene that was used in the shooting.
Alabama forward Brandon Miller drives into the lane during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Missouri in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, Saturday, March 11, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/John Amis)
While Miles has since been charged with capital murder,Miller faces no charges. His attorney said the freshman standout was unaware at the time that he was in possession of the firearm.
ALABAMA BASKETBALL PLAYER STRONGLY DENIES BEING AT THE SCENE OF DEADLY SHOOTING: '100% INACCURATE'
Another freshman player, Jaden Bradley, was also present at the time of the shooting, police said.
According to the report, Spears was in Miller’s vehicle which had been struck by two stray bullets. Neither player was injured.
When asked about the report on Wednesday, Spears told the newspaper, "I’m sorry, I’m not going to be able to speak about that," but on Thursday, he issued a statement to his Instagram calling the report "100% inaccurate."
"I have one thing to say – the report in the New York Times was 100% inaccurate and the writer had complete disregard for the truth," his post read. "I am trying to process and cope with these false statements that somehow have been published and then seen by so many. So thankful to Alabama Athletics for refuting it on my behalf."
A general view of a basketball with the Alabama logo displayed versus LSU during game at Coleman Coliseum. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Jan. 14, 2023. (Greg Nelson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
The New York Times told Fox News Digital Friday when reached for comment that it stands by its original reporting that Spears was the fourth Alabama player on the scene during the fatal January shooting.
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Christian Spears, Spears’ father and the athletic director at Marshall, issued a separate statement on Thursday calling the report "irresponsible and demonstrably false."
"I am just incredibly disappointed in the irresponsible and demonstrably false reporting by The New York Times," Christian Spears said via the athletic department. "We are exploring all legal options at this time. I will have no further comment, instead deferring to the University of Alabama’s statement on the matter."
Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne also issued a statement calling the report "inaccurate," stating the only other players on the scene, aside from Miles, were Miller and Bradley.
Darius Miles, #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide, drives with the ball against the LSU Tigers during a game at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on March 5, 2022 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
"Some inaccurate narratives have been reported about the involvement of Alabama student-athletes that display an unfortunate disregard of the facts. We ask all to exercise careful due diligence before reporting on this sensitive situation."
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Michael "Buzz" Davis, who is not affiliated with Alabama men’s basketball team, is also facing capital murder charges for the alleged killing of Harris, who was a mother to a 5-year-old son.
Alabama entered the men's NCAA tournamentas the No. 1 overall seed. It defeated No. 16 Texas A&M Corpus-Christi in a first-round game Thursday.
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