At about 8 p.m. on September 24, 1992, Christopher Davis was shot to death at the Avondale Game Room and Package Store in Birmingham, Alabama, allegedly because he refused to return cocaine that he found after another man discarded it while being chased by police.
Twenty-three-year-old Anthony Embry and Falanda Miles, 22, were charged with the killing after three witnesses—one who was inside the pool room and two who were outside—identified them in a photographic lineup prepared by police. Embry pled guilty to murder on May 4, 1993, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Miles went on trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court in April 1994. A witness who was in the game room said Miles and Embry came in and shot Davis seven times. Two girls who were outside the store identified Miles as one of two men they saw going into the game room shortly before the shooting. Miles was acquitted after numerous witnesses said he was with his girlfriend who gave birth two hours prior to the shooting.
In April 1996, Louis Griffin, a member of a Harlem, New York drug gang, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) for providing security for the 142nd Street Lynch Mob Crew. The Crew supplied drugs to numerous parts of the country, including Alabama. In the process of entering his guilty plea, Griffin admitted to taking part in the murder of Davis as one of the “predicate offenses” encompassed in the RICO violation to which he pled guilty.
After learning of Griffin’s guilty plea, Jefferson County authorities filed a motion requesting that Embry’s conviction be vacated. The motion was granted, the prosecution dismissed the case, and Embry was released from prison.
In March 1997, a Jefferson County grand jury indicted Griffin and Raphael Bimbo, a Birmingham drug dealer, for the murder of Davis. Griffin and Bimbo were convicted in separate trials; Griffin was sentenced to death and Bimbo to life in prison. In August 2000, however, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed Griffin’s conviction because the trial judge had not allowed Griffin’s attorneys to present evidence that Embry and Miles had been charged with the Davis murder and that Embry had pled guilty. In December 2001, Griffin went on trial again and was acquitted. He was returned to federal custody to resume serving the 30-year sentence he received for his New York RICO conviction.
– Maurice Possley