A Jefferson Parish judge has ordered Corey Miller, the rapper known as "C-Murder" who is serving a life sentence for killing a teenager at a Harvey nightclub in 2002, to pay the victim’s family $1.15 million.
Judge Glenn Ansardi of 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna had found Miller liable for the killing of Steve Thomas in a civil proceeding in 2013.
On Wednesday, he ordered him 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.
Ansardi granted George and Delores Thomas the full amount sought by their attorney, Trey Mustian.
“For my clients, it’s been a 15-year odyssey,” Mustian said after the ruling. “They’ve been through a great deal, and it means a lot to us to bring some closure to this.”
Miller, who was not in the courtroom Wednesday, maintains his innocence from Louisiana State Prison at Angola.
It is not clear what chance the Thomas family has of getting the money, and Mustian conceded he expects that process could prove difficult.
Even though Louisiana rapper Corey "C-Murder" Miller has spent the last seven years at Angol…
Miller was found liable in a separate civil case in Baton Rouge stemming from a botched nightclub shooting there in 2001, and those plaintiffs asked a judge in January to seize any earnings Miller might have.
“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.”
However, he said of the ruling, “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 released at least four albums since going to jail in 2009. The most recent, “Penitentiary Chances,” was released in April 2016 and spawned a music video for the song “Dear Supreme Court” in which Miller implored the state’s high court to free him.
Prisoners at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola aren’t allowed to record albums or songs…
The video was controversial because of suspicions he may have recorded it in prison. The video featured an actor in a hat and sunglasses in a cell and exterior shots of Angola, but the lyrics appeared to have been conceived after his conviction.
Miller contends he recorded a trove of songs before he was sent to Angola, and the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections could find no evidence he had recorded music while in prison.
Miller was convicted twice in 24th Judicial District Court for killing Thomas during a brawl outside the Platinum Club in Harvey on Jan. 12, 2002.
The first verdict, in 2003, was thrown out after a judge ruled prosecutors withheld information about the criminal background of a witness.
Miller was then tried again in 2009 and found guilty by a 10-2 verdict.
In the 2001 incident in Baton Rouge, Miller was accused of trying to shoot a bouncer and club owner at Club Raggs on Plank Road, only to have his gun jam. He pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree murder there and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Miller entered his no-contest plea in the Baton Rouge incident after he was convicted in Jefferson Parish. The plea came before, but he was sentenced to 10 years in that case after his conviction and sentencing in Jefferson Parish.