Another key witness in the murder trial of rapper Corey “C-Murder” Miller is recanting his testimony and also claims he was pressured by detectives to identify Miller as the shooter.
Darnell Jordan — who in 2002 was security guard at the Platinum Club in New Orleans the night 16-year-old Steven Thomas was shot and killed — has executed a sworn affidavit stating unequivocally he is “certain” Miller did not pull the trigger.
In a filing on Monday, Miller’s attorney Paul Barker submitted a movement for post-conviction relief that included Jordan’s affidavit. Therein, Jordan states members of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office harassed and threatened him and his family in order to pressure him into testifying against Miller.
Jordan, who called 911 right after the incident, claims to have even told his manager that he did not see what happened, but was told to speak with detectives anyway. “C-Murder didn’t do this,” was his first statement to officers, Jordan says in his affidavit, telling them he “pulled C-Murder out of the fight” and “Corey didn’t have anything in his hands” and he saw Miller’s “shirt come up — no gun in his waistband.” Jordan also claims he told officers “the flash from the gun came from the other side of the pile [of people fighting].”
Thomas was attacked and killed after he stepped off stage during a rap contest. Miller, 47, is the younger brother of Percy “Master P” Miller. He is serving a life sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after a jury voted 10-2 in 2009 to convict him of killing Thomas.
Early on, Jordan said in his affidavit he was “tricked” into identifying Miller’s photograph, which detectives then used as a claim of identifying the shooter. Later, Jordan said he didn’t want to testify and recalls being arrested in California on a material witness bond, shackled and flown back to new Orleans, where he was detained alone in a hotel room for a week prior to Miller’s first trial in 2003. While there, Jordan says Detective Donald Clogher presented him with what he was told was his statement, the contents of which Jordan denied but the detective responded, “you said it” and then folded his arms, refusing to listen to Jordan’s objections.
Although the jury found Miller guilty in that first trial, the verdict was thrown out by a judge because prosecutors withheld information about a witness’ criminal background. Prior to the start of Miller’s second trial in 2009, Jordan was again arrested on a material witness bond and remembers the threatening manner in which officers arrived at his mother-in-law’s house to bring him in: “We were in the yard. They had guns drawn on all of us and told us to get on the ground. They brought me to isolation in jail for a few days.”
Jordan has also requested protection from the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office out of fear of retaliation. He said, “I just want to tell the truth and clear my name.”
Jordan’s affidavit follows claims from the case’s other key witness, Kenneth Jordan — who is not related to Darnell Jordan — that he was threatened with a criminal charge if he did not identify Miller as the shooter. Both witnesses were interviewed, and recanted their previous statements, in a television episode of Investigation Discovery’s true-crime series Reasonable Doubt.
“Of the 134 witnesses interviewed by officers after the murder at the Platinum Club, Darnell Jordan and Kenneth Jordan were the only two eyewitnesses called to testify for the state trial, which means they were likely the only two ‘witnesses’ willing to regurgitate the story fed to them by Detective Clogher and eventually testified at trial — i.e., that Corey Miller was the perpetrator of the shooting,” said Miller’s attorney Barker in his filing.
He continued, “Because the testimony of the two eyewitnesses was the only evidence that the State had implicating Mr. Miller as the shooter, impeaschment [sic] of those two witnesses would have had the effect of impeaching the state’s entire case against Mr. Miller.”