DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has set an April 8 trial for a Detroit police officer charged in the death of a 7-year-old girl during a raid recorded for a reality TV show.
Wayne County Judge Cynthia Hathaway set the date Friday. Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones.
She was killed in 2010 when members of a special police team burst into her home to search for a man wanted for murder. The raid was being filmed for the TV show “The First 48.” An A&E network photographer is accused of perjury and obstruction of justice in the case.
While witnesses said officers burst in shooting, police insist that Weekley’s gun accidentally discharged after he was bumped by the girl’s grandmother.
Weekley appeared in court Friday for a pre-trial hearing during which a demonstration of a flash-bang explosive device was supposed to have been conducted. Judge Hathaway delayed the demonstration over concerns about media being present.
The fiancé of Aiyana’s aunt, Chauncey Owens, who was the subject of the raid, was arrested in the home’s second-floor flat in the separate murder case — the May 14, 2010 death of 17-year-old Je’rean Blake. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a 28-year prison sentence.
After Jones death, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing banned TV crews from going out with police. Aiyana’s family has civil lawsuits pending against the city.
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