A Dying Mom Demands Justice for Her Murdered Son: 'As Long as I Have the Fight in Me, I'll Fight'

A'mani Miller was found fatally shot and stabbed in the fifth-floor stairwell of a public housing complex in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn

Allison Shinn holds a picture of her son Amani Miller at her home in Brooklyn, New York CIty on Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Allison Shinn. Photo: Gardiner Anderson for NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

It wasn't unusual for Allison Shinn to speak to her 23-year-old son A'mani Miller on the phone throughout the day. "He was the type to call to tell me that he got to work safely, to tell me that he got home safely," she says in this week's issue of PEOPLE.

And so, on March 14, 2016, mom and son were chatting shortly after noon. "I didn't want to interrupt him while he was driving, so the conversation was short," Allison, 47, recalls. "I said, 'When you get to your destination, please call me.'"

Looking back on that day today, Allison is glad she remembered to tell him she loved him. "The last things that we said to each other was that we love each other," she says. "That's the memory that I hold onto because those were the last words that we said: I love you."

Shortly after 2:30 that afternoon, police found Miller's body face down in the fifth-floor stairwell of a public housing complex in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. He had been shot and stabbed repeatedly.

"They tried to dismantle him and disfigure his body," says Allison's husband David, A'mani's stepfather. "We were two seconds before having a closed casket [funeral], because of what they did to him."

Allison Shinn at the gravesite of her son Amani Miller who was murdered on March 3, 2016. Rosehill cemetery, NJ March 2017
Courtesy Allison Shinn

For more on Allison Shinn's quest for justice for her slain son, A'mani Miller, subscribe now to PEOPLE, or pick up this week's issue, on newsstands Friday.

The killing was "personal," he says. "There was a lot of passion and anger that was involved."

Although police released surveillance footage of a black car leaving the scene, six years have passed without an arrest. "This case remains an active investigation," says a New York City Police Department spokesperson. "Detectives are working to establish probable cause and bring the offender to justice."

For Allison — who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 and has endured two and a half years of chemo and radiation — that's simply not enough. Now in hospice care at home, her dying wish is to see her son's killer or killers taken off the street. "They're giving me six months to live," she says. "I would just feel so much relief to be able to leave this Earth with justice for my son."

'Best Son Ever'

From an early age, A'mani was "my pride and joy," says Allison, a former marketing executive who raised her son as a single mom. She started taking her son to modeling gigs when he was 2 and by his teens, he had dreams of becoming a music producer and rapper.

Teenager Amani Miller was shot to death in the hallway of 2125 Rockaway Parkway in the Bayview Houses NYCHA buildings this afternoon March 14, 2016. He was found on the fifth floor hallway with gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead on the scene.
A'mani Miller was killed in 2016. Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

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On the day of his death, Miller, who was an apprentice at the construction company where David worked, left home around 10 a.m. to pick up and deliver construction equipment and then made an unscheduled stop at the Bay View Houses apartment complex, where his truck was later found by police. "We had specifically given A'mani instructions not to go to certain places," says David. "We think someone familiar lured him to a location like that."

Until Allison got sick, she was conducting her own investigation into her son's killing — even canvassing the neighborhood with a bullhorn in search of clues or people willing to come forward.

Now, she is appealing to the NYPD to conduct familial DNA testing of evidence found under her son's fingernails, a technique that searches offender data banks for a partial match with a male relative of an unknown perpetrator.

"My health is declining every day," she says, "but as long as I have the fight in me, I will fight to get the closure we all need."

"He was the best son ever," she adds. "I'm hoping that this would never happen to anyone's mom, family or friends again."

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). Tips can also be submitted by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

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