On a spring night inside a luxury Brickell condo, an internet entrepreneur named Haider Rana was watching TV with an exotic dancer after a day of hanging out at the pool. They heard a knock. Rana grabbed his pistol and went to the front door.
Seconds later, there was a gunshot. Someone fell to the ground in the doorway, mortally wounded.
But that person was no intruder, Miami-Dade prosecutors say. Instead, on the night of May 6, 2021, Rana fatally shot 25-year-old Maame Amuah, an unarmed woman who lived across the street and had been in a romantic relationship with him, according to investigators.
Miami-Dade prosecutors have now charged Rana, 24, with second-degree murder with a firearm, rejecting a self-defense claim — he told detectives that an unknown person, crouched down and hiding from the peephole, “pushed the door open.” Amuah, the investigation revealed, had been calling Rana all day and wanted to hang out with him that evening, according to an arrest warrant.
“This guy knew my daughter was coming. She had been calling for him for two days,” her mother, Jonell Jackson-Manu, said in an interview on Monday. “He got angry because my daughter kept calling and texting. He was with another girl in the room.”
Jackson-Manu said the use of deadly force was not justified. “What if it had been someone else at the door? A delivery person? It could have been a security guard. It could have been a neighbor who wanted help.”
Miami police arrested Rana on Friday. On Sunday, a Miami-Dade judge ordered him held with no bond pending trial. Court records do not list a defense attorney.
‘Stand Your Ground’ law faces test
The case will likely be a test of Florida’s controversial self-defense law, which critics have long contended fosters vigilante justice and allows killers to get away with murder — as long as they claim they were in fear for their lives.
The Stand Your Ground law, passed in 2005, made it easier for judges to dismiss cases they deem to be self-defense. Despite objections from state attorneys across Florida, lawmakers have since expanded the law, putting the legal burden on prosecutors to “disprove” any claims of self-defense.
The law most infamously eliminated a citizen’s “duty to retreat” before he or she could use deadly force to counter a supposed threat of great bodily harm.
Over the years in Miami-Dade County, that’s led to many killers escaping prosecution for shooting unarmed people over perceived threats. That’s included a man who shot and killed two unarmed men outside a Northwest Miami-Dade Chili’s restaurant, and another man who fatally shot an unarmed neighbor, then claimed he was afraid of the man’s karate skills.
In Rana’s case, another portion of the law may be tested.
Lawmakers in 2005 fortified the law’s existing “Castle Doctrine” to give a resident a “presumption” that any intruder, armed or not, poses a threat of “death or great bodily harm.”
That provision of the law forced prosecutors, in 2013, to drop a murder case against a teen who shot and killed an unarmed burglar through a window — even though the teen had already left the house, and police were on their way. It also played into the decision to not charge a Miami Shores teenager who shot and killed a young man who was stealing a WaveRunner outside the teen’s home.
‘Friends with benefits’
Amuah hailed from Ghana and had moved to the United States in 2016. In 2020, she’d relocated to Miami, where her brother lived. She worked in fashion design, selling clothes, while also working in the beauty industry. She’d only been seeing Rana for less than a month.
Rana and Amuah lived across the street from each other and got into business with each other. The relationship soon turned intimate. He would later claim they were “friends with benefits,” according to an arrest warrant.
Rana, described in police records as an “entrepreneur,” ran an internet app called “The Plug Delivery,” which purported to deliver marijuana and alcohol to customer homes.
His businesses worried Amuah’s mother. “I told her to be careful about this guy,” said Jackson-Manu, who lives in New York.
But Rana had also been pursuing a romantic relationship with a 26-year-old exotic dancer named Abi-Gail Dwyer, whom he had met at the King of Diamonds club. According to the warrant, Rana had invited her out for a boat party in early May, and then to his building’s pool the day of the shooting.
After the pool, later that night, Rana and Dwyer watched a movie and shared drinks and smoked marijuana inside his seventh-floor unit at the Caoba Apartments, 698 NE First Ave.
Dwyer later told police that between 11:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., she heard a “light knock” on the apartment door. Rana moved toward the door, but didn’t open it. “Maybe it is the television,” Rana said, Dwyer told police, according to the warrant.
But five minutes later, a louder knock was heard. Rana grabbed a FN 509 pistol that had been lying on a table and walked toward the door. Dwyer said Rana opened the door — and did not speak to anyone — and heard the sound of the gun, according to the warrant.
In his account to homicide detectives, Rana claimed he looked through the peephole and didn’t see anyone. When he opened the door slightly, he “realized that somebody was crouching underneath the peephole,” the warrant said.
He claimed that the person “pushed the door open,” forcing him to fire, according to the warrant. Only after the person fell did he realize it was Amuah, he said. Rana was not arrested that night, and had been free for over a year while the investigation continued.
Police and prosecutors believe that Rana had a good idea that it was Amuah at the door that night.
That day, Rana admitted to Miami police, Amuah had been “blowing up my phone,” calling him repeatedly, saying she wanted to see him that night. Cellphone records backed up that Amuah had called him 18 times in the 24 hours before the shooting. And he seemed to be stringing her along — several hours before the shooting, he texted her that he loved her, the warrant said.
Investigators did not believe that Amuah was crouching down. The Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the pathway of the bullet was not downward and that “he shot when he was facing her, and the muzzle of the firearm had to be level with her neck wound,” according to the warrant by Miami police detective Aiesha Fortune and prosecutor Santiago Aroca.
Rana admitted he did not think Amuah “could be in the possession of any weapon.”
“The subject admitted that he never heard the victim saying anything nor did he see any weapon in her hands,” the warrant said.
Her mother said she was gratified that Rana was arrested.
“It’s a hole in my heart that will never go away,” Jackson-Manu said. “All I want is justice for my daughter, so she can rest. She didn’t deserve that. That boy took her life for nothing.”