Nearly two decades after C-Murder was sentenced to life in prison for murder, Kim Kardashian claims there’s ‘evidence of his potential innocence,’ and vows to free the rapper. Here’s what you need to know.
Kim Kardashian took the next steps in her crusade to reform the American criminal justice system on Sunday by announcing she is going to work to free Corey Miller – aka C-Murder – from jail. The 49-year-old brother of Master P has been behind bars since 2009, serving a life sentence for the 2002 shooting of then-16-year-old Steven Thomas at the Platinum Club in New Orleans. “On January 18, 2002, a tragedy occurred when a young man [Thomas] was killed. The next day Corey Miller was arrested for the murder,” tweeted Kim on Aug. 16. “The jury convicted Corey 10-2, and he was sentenced to life in prison. If his trial was today, the jury would have had to be unanimous for him to be convicted. Since his trial, witnesses have recanted, new evidence of his potential innocence has come to light, and there are claims of jurors being pressured into voting to convict.”
“True justice for the young man requires that the person who actually killed him be held responsible and that Corey Miller he returned home to his kids,” added Kim. “My heart goes out to the family of Steve Thomas. I can only imagine how hard this is, and my intention is never to open up this painful wound but to help find the truth behind this tragedy.” As Kim rallies support for the #FreeCoreyMiller movement, here’s what you need to know.
My heart goes out to the family of Steve Thomas. I can only imagine how hard this is and my intention is never to open up this painful wound but to help find the truth behind this tragedy.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 16, 2020
1. Kim is working with Corey’s ex, Monica, to free him. Unfortunately, when a celebrity takes up a cause, their fame often overshadows the work that other, non-famous activists have done for decades. Kim made sure this wouldn’t be the case. When announcing her support for #FreeCoreyMiller, she made sure to note that she’s partnering with a handful of experts to set Corey free: Jessica Jackson, a human rights attorney and co-founder of #cut50, a “bipartisan effort to cut crime and incarceration across all 50 states,” according to its website; Erin Haney, who lists herself as the Policy Director at the REFORM Alliance and Senior counsel at #cut50; and singer Monica.
Monica, 39, was romantically involved with C-Murder before his conviction, and on Aug. 10, she announced that she was going to help free him. “You are not alone,” she posted to her Instagram Story, per BET. “The fight is about to change because you will not fight alone! Your daughter and TRU family deserve to have you with them! I’m about to be on some other sh-t.”
2. Corey was first convicted in 2003 but was granted a retrial in 2009. Corey was first convicted of murder in 2003, but, as The Times-Picayune reported in 2009, Judge Martha Sassone gave him a retrial after his attorneys argued that “prosecutors withheld criminal background information on three of their witnesses.” The results weren’t any different: a jury found him guilty. Yet, the 10-2 decision raised questions of whether non-unanimous jury verdicts are constitutional. At the time, only Oregon and Louisiana were the only states that allowed convictions by 10-2 jury verdicts in certain criminal cases.
3. Witnesses in the case have changed their story. Kenneth Jordan, a witness in the case, said in 2018 that he was lying when he told police that he saw Corey shoot Steven during the fatal Platinum Club brawl, per The New Orleans Advocate. Kenneth claimed investigators threatened to charge him with the killing of his infant child — whose death was supposedly under investigation at the time — if he didn’t identify C-Murder as the shooter. Another witness, a club security guard named Darnell Jordan, said he was also tricked into testifying against Miller.
Since his trial, witnesses have recanted, new evidence of his potential innocence has come to light, and there are claims of jurors being pressured into voting to convict.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 16, 2020
4. Corey attempted to get another retrial in 2019 but was denied. A year after those witnesses recanted, Miller’s legal team argued that his conviction should be thrown out, or that he should be given another chance to argue his case in court. Judge Steven Enright of the 24th Judicial District Court ruled that Miller “did not meet the burden of proof for post-conviction relief,” per The New Orleans Advocate. Judge Enright wrote that recantations of previous testimony are “highly suspicious” and that “a new trial should not be granted on the basis of a recantation because it is tantamount to perjury so as to discredit the witness at a later trial.”
Judge Enright also claimed that Kenneth Jordan’s claims were not credible because he didn’t provide any evidence, beyond his word, that he was arrested or under investigation for his child’s death. The judge also pointed out that Darnell Jordan testified consistently in both 2003 and 2009, and that it “goes against the petitioner’s claim that Darnell Jordan was tricked into testifying as he did.”
5. Corey is a father. Corey, as C-Murder, initially gained fame as part of his No Limit Records, the label run by his brother, Master P. C-Murder was a member of TRU, the label’s supergroup, but he would find success as a solo artist. He has continued to release music while incarcerated, including 2005’s The Truest Sh-t I Ever Said, 2009’s Screamin’ 4 Vengeance, 2009’s Calliope Click, and 2015’s Ain’t No Heaven In The Pen.
Corey was previously married to Dionne Miller, per IMDB. He’s also a father of three girls. His official Instagram account shared a picture of him with his daughters on Aug. 16. “My Girls My WORLD @alexischelsea @co.miller & @chanellemill I fight daily for you! I’m sorry I haven’t been there. 19 years has been hard on us all, but I’m honored to be your father! You have never left me & I am proud of the women you have become!”