COLUMBIA, SC — Former University of South Carolina football player Kenny Miles was charged Tuesday with providing false information to law enforcement after first telling deputies he was shot in a November robbery and later changing his story to say he had tried to commit suicide, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Miles, who as a star running back for the University of South Carolina in 2012 won the adulation of thousands of fans, was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Tuesday morning to appear before a magistrate.
The judge released Miles on a $440 personal recognizance bond and will allow him to return to Georgia to stay with his parents. No court date has been set on the misdemeanor charge.
Tuesday’s arrest stems from a Nov. 4 shooting incident in which Miles, who was shot in an arm, originally told investigators several different stories – first blaming the shooting on a friend and then blaming it on a robber, according to the sheriff’s department.
But – in his latest explanation – Miles “ultimately” said he shot himself in a bungled suicide attempt and “had intentionally lied to investigators,” according to an arrest warrant in the case obtained by The State newspaper on Tuesday.
Miles was one of three men to appear in bond court Tuesday shortly after 9 a.m. The other two wore navy Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center jumpsuits, but Miles waited in a holding cell in street clothes. He did not speak during the hearing, which also was attended by his parents, who drove from Georgia to be with their son.
Neal Lourie, Miles’ defense attorney, asked the judge for permission for Miles to travel between the two states, saying his client had been cooperating with investigators at the sheriff’s department.
The bullet missed bone but went straight through Miles’s arm, causing significant bleeding, Lourie said after the bond hearing. Miles had surgery to repair the damage and continues to receive treatment from orthopedic doctors, Lourie said.
Lourie declined to comment on what the arrest warrant described as a suicide attempt or whether Miles was receiving any help with what might have caused him to try to take his own life.
Last March, USC football coach Steve Spurrier and Dr. Meera Narasimhan, chairwoman of USC’s School of Medicine’s Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science, spoke as part of the university’s first ever Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. The walk was to raise awareness of suicide on college campuses and highlight resources available for those who may be experiencing depression and other mental health issues.
In 2010, former Gamecock and then-Denver Broncos wide receiver Kenny McKinley committed suicide.
Miles’ arrest early Tuesday morning is the latest act in a long running drama that began Nov. 4 when Miles told law enforcement that he was shot in the arm during someone’s attempt to steal his watch and football ring. It happened about 1 p.m. that day, Miles said, in the 100 block of Centrum Drive, in the parking area of an office park near Broad River Road and Interstate 26. The news was widely publicized in local media and won Miles public sympathy.
Sheriff Leon Lott held a press conference the next day to debunk that version of events.
In another version of what happened, Miles told sheriff’s deputies he was driving his car and didn’t know who shot him. He told deputies he was shot by a white man in his late 30s or 40s with light gray hair.
Miles also told deputies the shooter fled into a wooded area.
At one point, deputies searched the house of an innocent man and confiscated some of his belongings.
Miles, who has a degree in criminal justice from USC, later “told investigators that a friend shot him over a woman,” said the arrest warrant.
“After investigations verified the alibi provided by the friend, Miles admitted that the friend had not shot him. Miles continued to change his story about what happened to him in an attempt to thwart the criminal investigation,” the warrant said.
Lott held a Nov. 12 news conference to announce that Miles shot himself. Lott didn’t speculate on why Miles might have shot himself.
Lott stressed that Miles’ “false leads” had wasted of a lot of taxpayers’ money and law enforcement resources that could have been better deployed elsewhere. “It wasted a lot of manpower,” Lott said.
Miles, who was working in the S.C. Attorney General’s office as a support clerk and community liaison, was then reported to be under a doctor’s care. At that time, he was given a 30-day unpaid medical leave. His status with the Attorney General’s office could not be learned Tuesday.
Several weeks after the shooting, Miles released a statement through his attorney to say, in part, he was “scared and worried how my actions would be perceived ... . I make no excuses for my behavior.”
In the same statement, he also apologized to law enforcement, the public and his USC teammates and coaches.
But he still hadn’t turned himself in.
Since the shooting, Miles has been living with his parents in Lawrenceville, Ga., Lourie said. He travels between their home and Columbia for medical treatment.
Lourie declined to further discuss the reasons behind the shooting but said his client has a bright future in spite of the shooting and arrest.
“He’s a great kid. Let me say that first,” Lourie said. “Whatever he wants to do, he will be successful. I would love for Kenny to do well once he gets this behind him.”
Miles led USC in rushing in 2009 as a redshirt freshman, with 117 carries for 626 yards. In his final season, 2012, he started six games as a senior and was third on the team in rushing. He finished his USC career with 1,342 yards rushing.
The charge of giving false information to a law officer is a misdemeanor. It is possible that Miles could get off with probation, no jail time and a fine – or some combination of those.
Before the shooting incident, Miles had talked to Spurrier about being a graduate assistant with the football team.
Spurrier told reporters he would consider that request and called Miles “a model student-athlete.”