When I was growing up in Brooklyn, my nickname was “Killer,” as in “Killer Miller.”
“Watch out! Here comes Killer!” was funny, because I only weighed about 100 pounds. It became funnier as I got older. The first time I took Jayne to Brooklyn, someone yelled “Hey Killer!” and Jayne was shocked, when I turned and waved.
This was nothing like Corey Miller, a rapper from New Orleans, who chose the name “C-Murder” because:
“They call me C-Murder, cuz I see murder”
But for C-Murder Miller, just seeing murder was not enough, he wanted to be an active participant.
In 2001, C-Murder was denied entrance to Club Raggs in Baton Rouge, because he refused to searched for concealed weapons, by the bouncer, Daryl Jackson. He asked to speak to the manager, Norman Sparrow, but Sparrow repeated the demand. This annoyed Miller, so he pulled a gun out of his waistband, and attempted to shoot Sparrow. Luckily for Sparrow, C-Murder’s gun jammed, but he then attempted to shoot Jackson, who was saved when his gun jammed again. All C-Murder could manage that night was an anemic shot into the floor. He fled the scene, but turned himself in two days later, and was charged with attempted second degree murder, and released on $100,000 bail.
In 2002, the 31-year-old rapper, was in a similar situation at Harvey’s Platinum Club, in Harvey, Louisiana. Unfortunately, this time his gun worked, and 16-year-old Steve Thomas of Avondale, who had borrowed a friend’s ID, to get into the club that night, hoping to meet C-Murder, was killed. Thomas’s Dad described him as “huge fan” of No Limit Records, whose performers included included C-Murder, and his brothers, Percy and Vyshonn, who recorded as Master P, and Silkk the Shocker during its operation from 1994-2003.
The Death of Steve Thomas
At 1 A.M., when Steve Thomas should have been home in bed, he somehow annoyed C-Murder, and was allegedly beaten and kicked by C-Murder and his pals, before he was shot, and murdered by C-Murder.
The bouncer, Darnell Jordan, testified that:
“I grabbed C-Murder and told him to chill out. He tried to weasel his way in. And when he did, gunshots, no, one gunshot…Miller stuck his hand under the pile. That’s when I saw the muzzle flash”
C-Murder was arrested a few days later, outside The House of Blues, which had wisely banned him. Off-duty Detective Robert Stoltz called Police after spotting C-Murder, claiming he knew that C-Murder had outstanding warrants. Corey Miller was initially charged with disturbing the peace and criminal trespassing. He also had an outstanding warrant for defrauding a hotel. He was indicted for second degree murder, about a month later.
When C-Murder was finally incarcerated, he bribed two guards, who provided him with a cell phone and charger. The guards were caught, and sentenced to two years each, in prison. After an inmate testified that C-Murder planned to kill Assistant District Attorney Douglas Freese, or “reach out and touch him,” Miller was not allowed to have visitors, and could only communicate with family and friends through censored mail.
Prosecutor David Wolff said:
“Witnesses in this case have been threatened. Witnesses in this case fear for their safety.”
Farcical First Trial
Several witnesses changed their stories, but Miller was eventually convicted of murder, and sentenced to life in prison. However, Judge Martha Sassone who was best known for recording conversations with two Judges, which led to their imprisonment, granted Miller a new trial, claiming that prosecutors failed to inform jurors of the criminal histories of the witnesses.
Prosecutors were also unable to decide whether to try to add 10-50 years to C-Murder Miller’s sentence, by trying him for the earlier shooting in Baton Rouge.
Another Frightened Witness
ADA announced that Miller would also be charged with battery on a corrections officer. However those charges were dropped when the officer resigned, and then refused to testify against C-Murder Miller.
And Another Album
C-Murder managed to record another album, with videos filmed by his attorney during visiting hours. Unlike most other states, Louisiana does not prohibit convicted criminals from making money from creative projects while they are incarcerated.
Sheriff Harry Lee, of Jefferson Parish, complained, saying:
“Nowhere was it ever mentioned that someone would be doing a commercial enterprise in the jail. I am pissed off that an attorney would trick me.”
He ruled that Attorney Ronald Rakosky, who admitted recording five hours of C-Murder Miller performing for this album, would only be allowed to bring only a pencil and pad to future meetings with his client, because hollow pens could be used to smuggle lyrics. After a complaint by Rakosky, Judge Sassone ruled that he could bring case documents into Miller’s cell, but no pens.
Ronald Rakosky, who is clearly a great lawyer, just for helping his client record an album, brought in another great lawyer, Robert Glass, who is best known for clearing Ginny Foat of murder charges. They appealed to Louisiana Supreme Court for a new trial. NAACP also sued on his behalf, claiming his rights had been violated, when Appelate Court refused to grant him a new trial.
C-Murder also announced that he was changing his name to C-Miller. Miller said:
“People hear the name C-Murder and they don’t realize that the name simply means that I have seen many murders in my native Calliope projects neighborhood.”
On March 17, 2006, Miller was finally charged with the Baton Rouge shooting from 2001, and released on $250,000 bail. Despite this, on March 21, 2006, Judge Sassone placed Miller on a home incarceration program at the residence of his grandmother, Maxine Miller, in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner.
C-Murder/C-Miller was only allowed out of the house to go to court, or see his lawyers, visitors were limited, and he had to submit to random drug tests. Miller was also warned not to give any interviews, or have any parties.
Unfortunately, Miller violated these terms, and his house arrest privileges were revoked on May 8. Fortunately for him, his great lawyers managed to get them reinstated on May 24. However on June 9, Miller who made millions of dollars while he was in jail, neglected to pay his $50/week incarceration fees.
Despite all of this, Judge Sassone, the former whistleblower, intervened on his behalf, and allowed him to make his payments in advance. She also issued a gag order preventing all parties from discussing the case publicly. Two days after her decision, the Times-Picayune sued to obtain copies of court documents, but that case was oddly postponed.
Great lawyers, and a possibly tainted Judge!
On July 13, 2006, Judge Sassone, ruled that Miller, could stop wearing his ankle bracelet, and travel freely, as long as he was at his grandmother’s house from 10 P.M. until 6 A.M., and allowed him to see his girlfriend, claiming his home incarceration was a “burden” to the system.
Judge Sassone used her gag order to get away with this nonsense. When the decision was finally reported, Police Chief Arthur Lawson of Gretna, whose department managed this program said:
“We certainly don’t feel that it was a burden. It certainly wasn’t the sentiment of our officers, the office, or the program.”
Lawson’s comments were not made public until Sassone lifted her gag order.
Times-Picayune columnist James Gill, was not as blunt as me. He said:
“Either Sassone has flipped her lid, or she is subject to some malign influence. Her rulings in the case grow increasingly bizarre.”
Her decision was overturned a few days later by an appeals court, which was not “subject to some malign influence.”
Miller lost his privileges after he went to the premiere of a Spike Lee movie, and gave a television interview. He contended that he met Lee briefly to discuss a project, never discussed his case publicly, and was home by 10 P.M.
C-Murder’s Final Projects
On November 30, 2006, Miller released a new CD, as “C-Murder” and also announced that he was publishing a novel, “Death Around the Corner,” which he claims to have written while in prison.
Curiously, the book’s Web site is gone. However, C-Murder’s s comments are preserved on The Wayback Machine. C-Murder said:
“People always ask me what made me want to become an author. First of all I was behind bars facing a life sentence so I didn’t know what the future held. But I knew one thing: I had to get on my grind. I had to get my hustle on. Plus I like to express myself and put my words out there. Since I couldn’t do it in music, I said let me do it with a book. I had been doing a lot of studying and reading a lot of books. A lot of people don’t know I was an honor student in school. I read about 500 books since I’ve been locked up. So I felt like it was time for me to get started, to become an author.
The first thing I did was I started reading a lot. Sometimes I read a book in one day. So I started getting real interested in everything about books. And I just started feeling the flow and how different authors express themselves in a book. I learned a lot by just hands-on experience. Whatever I’m doing, I learn quick. So that was the first process, just reading and getting interested.
Then I’m like All right, let me just try writing. But I’m my biggest critic. So then I said, I need some info on this. I need a book that can teach you how to write a book and write a novel, and all about publishing. I wanna know everything about the game, ya heard me? So I got all that information through the library. So then I’m sitting down, reading it all and getting the game in my head. One of my favorite authors, Dean Koontz, even wrote a book on how to write a novel. His was crucial cause I liked how he put his words. But I still wanted the urban crowd. So it’s me mixed with Koontz-that’s how I feel. And that’s how it all started.
Writing Death Around The Corner from prison took me two years. I wrote everything out by hand in notebooks and then mailed them out to be typed up on a computer. It could have been done before that, but sometimes there’s so much happening on the tier and so much going on in your case and your personal life that you just have to chill. And then Katrina hit-the storm. I sent out a lot of chapters that were lost when all the mail got shut down. So once we came back from Katrina, and the mail started rolling, I called and said, Look for the mail! And the Post office said Call this number and go on this website, cause it’s all just sitting in crates out in the sun. So four months later I got all them chapters back. Then I just finished the last of the chapters right then and there. And that was it.
I chose the title Death Around The Corner because every day I was locked up I kept hearing about people getting killed-young dudes. Three murders one day, four murders, five murders. There was just a lot of brothers getting killed. So I said it looks like everybody has to watch their back. It’s serious out there. Death is so close-right around the corner. Everybody can relate to it, from my hood to your hood. Anywhere. So that was the theme of the whole book.
Daquan starts out how we all start out-innocent. Just a little boy happy for the little things in life: going to school, playing in the grass, having fun on the see-saws at the park. Then at five years old, he has his first sight of tragedy, and it all goes downhill from there. This is a story for all those people that society gives up on. There’s millions and millions of Daquans out there. You can just drive through the hood to see a snotty nose with a Pamper, no parents at home, no parks to play in, abandoned. There’s millions and millions of Daquans in the wiorld. Not just black, but white and everything else, South America, Asia, Africa.
Once you read the book you will understand where I’m coming from. It’s just the life of a young black man growing up in the hood with the odds against him. So anybody can get it. Death is always right around the corner. And with all my books that I write, I’m gonna make sure they have a crucial, crucial twist that nobody would think about. Cause I be thinkin’ about some other things sometimes. You’ll just have to keep reading to learn more about that.
And if you love this book, get ready for Tru Publishing cause we got a lot more heat coming for ya. So peep game.”
But he will never have his freedom.
C-Murder Miller will be sentenced on Friday.
August 15: I found this and apologize for making it even worse.
“On Jan. 12, 2002, Thomas told his father he was going to see a movie. Using a fake identification, he went to the Platinum Club instead, knowing Miller was there. It was a rap competition, and Thomas performed, according to testimony.”
I was saddened to learn that George Thomas suffered a heart attack. I hope he makes a complete recovery.
2017 UPDATE: C-Murder Pays $1.15 million to Parents of Steve Thomas
Background: In 2009, Corey “C-Murder” Miller was convicted of 2nd Degree Murder, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the jury vote was 10-2 and Miller appealed.
Defendants can be sentenced to life in prison with a 10-2 jury vote in Lousiana. A unanimous vote is only required for the death penalty.
Louisiana and Oregon are the only states where you can be convicted without a unanimous vote from the jury.
No prisoner serving a life sentence is eligible for parole consideration until his or her life sentence has been commuted to a fixed term of years.
In 2017, C-Murder Miller paid $1.15 million to George and Delores Thomas, the parents of Steve Thomas. The payment included Steve Thomas’s funeral costs.
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