DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) The emotions overflowed after father D’Andre Lane was convicted Monday of child abuse leading to death of 2-year-old Bianca Jones, with him lashing out at the judge and claiming he was an innocent man railroaded into prison.
And it continued Tuesday, with the toddler’s mother saying racism was at the root of the prosecution, and Lane’s attorney saying an “appeal is in the works.” Lane, who continues to claim his daughter was snatched in a carjacking, was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
“I just really feel like we were misrepresented as people, as parents, as a family, people just took a snapshot of our lives as unemployed, low-income persons and made their own conclusions from that … We were involved and loving parents,” mother Banica Jones said.
Jones said she’s still searching for Bianca, believing the child she had with Lane — one of his seven kids with seven women — is out there waiting to be found.
“He doesn’t feel that he had a fair trial,” attorney Terry Johnson said of Lane.
Lane told police his toddler was in the back of his car when it was carjacked in Detroit, calling police at 9:45 a.m. December 2, 2011, and saying the assailants had driven off with his daughter. The car was found an hour later with an empty car seat inside.
Cadaver dogs allegedly sniffed out human decomposition in the seat, and in Lane’s home, though there was no blood or DNA evidence tied to the death. Lane said it was just an old house and used car seat.
“I understand this is what you all want to see, you need somebody to take the fall, take the blame,” Lane said in open court after his conviction, calling the judge a “liar.”
“I absolutely believe that it (race) played a factor in this,” Jones said. “There was even a point in the trial where the prosecutor pointed at Mr. Lane and myself and said, ‘Look at these people, and look what kind of people these people are.'”
Langton pointed out the judge and both attorneys were black, but Jones said that did not “preclude her (the prosecutor) from using these hot-button words and these strong-arm tactics to get the jury on her side,” adding, “I object to the characterization of my family that way.”
Jones and her attorney believe the cadaver dogs should not have been used in court to sway the jury into believing Bianca was dead.
“I feel there was a lot of evidence that absolutely should not have come in, I do not believe the dog evidence should have come in,” Jones said. “They were never able to prove that he did not tell the truth (about the carjacking) … There was never any real search for suspects, for this vehicle, all the attention was immediately directed at Mr. Lane.”
Jones said she felt she was on trial as a mother, and their lifestyle was on trial.
“When I was asked by the prosecutor whether or not I was on state aid, I didn’t feel like that was in any way relevant to my daughter’s kidnapping,” Jones said.”It was more of an effort to paint me as a low-income single mother and let the jury draw their own conclusions from that.”
“I was never asked about my time in the military or my veteran’s status,” Jones said adding her eldest daughter is a ‘straight A student’ and she is active in the community as president of her block club in Detroit.
Johnson said no court “in this state, this country, this county” has allowed cadaver dogs to be used as evidence of a death without corroboration by finding a body.
“I think if he was Deanna Lane from the suburbs of Detroit who happened to be a white lady, the outcome would have been different,” Johnson said.
“I think (racism) had a big part to do with it,” he added of the conviction, later saying, “The overall makeup of the jury was not the issue as much as it was the perception that here we have a man, seven kids by seven women — what does that really to do with the missing of his daughter Bianca Jones? The jury heard testimony from someone, her testimony was literally, she got up and testified to the fact Deandre wanted Bianca to have an abortion. What does that have to do with the missing 2-year-old toddler?”