By Ryan Velez
The New Orleans Advocate reports that a major chapter in this story has finally come to a close, with the rapper, real name Corey Miller, ordered to pay $1.15 million to the victim’s family.
On May 10th, Judge Glenn Ansardi of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna, Louisiana ordered Miller to pay $500,000 for each of Thomas’ parents, $150,000 to account for the suffering that Thomas, 16, experienced during the hour he lived after being shot, and $4,492 for the funeral costs. This was the full amount that Thomas’s parents sought through their attorney, Trey Mustian. The original 2003 verdict was thrown out after a judge ruled prosecutors withheld information about the criminal background of a witness, and Miller would be found guilty again by a 10-2 verdict after another trial in 2009, resulting in his imprisonment.
Mustian told The New Orleans Advocate that “For my clients, it’s been a 15-year odyssey…They’ve been through a great deal, and it means a lot to us to bring some closure to this.” Miller was not present in the courtroom at the time, and still maintains his innocence. He is currently held in Louisiana State Prison in Angola. Despite the ruling, there is a significant chance that the Thomas family will not be able to actually get the money. Mustian even acknowledged that the most likely route would have to be pursuing seizing any earnings Miller would have. This is similar to a separate civil case in Baton Rouge in 2001, where the plaintiffs made that move.
“That’s the route that we would have to go,” Mustian said. “We would have to try to seize (Miller’s earnings), and I’m certainly going to make an effort to do that.” Regarding the ruling, he said “I think it’s more a vindication of their son than any potential monetary award. They wanted to see it through for their son.”
Miller has recorded four albums since being imprisoned, the latest, Penitentiary Chances, being released in April of 2016. The album courted controversy due to one of its songs “Dear Supreme Court” drawing suspicion that its video was recorded in prison. Miller says that he recorded many songs before going to prison, and the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections found no evidence he had recorded music while in prison.