DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a young girl told jurors that he didn’t intentionally kill the 7-year-old.
Taking the stand Thursday in his own defense, officer Joseph Weekley said he replays the incident in his mind every day. He paused and looked at the ceiling, seemingly to control his emotions, as his lawyer asked about his own two daughters.
Things quickly became emotional as Weekley was asked to recall how he was called away from his children to join a special ops team in tracking down a murder suspect. Weekley appeared to fight back tears as he ran his tongue under this lower lip.
Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed but a bullet to the head during a chaotic raid at her Detroit home in 2010.
In closing arguments, assistant prosecutor Rob Moran said Weekley may be a nice man, but his “actions were criminal.”
“On that day, when he entered that house, his conduct was grossly negligent. Because of his conduct, Aiyana Jones is dead,” said Moran. “She would not be dead if it wasn’t for the gross negligence of that man.”
Weekley maintains he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his submachine gun. The grandmother denies she touched the gun, and another officer testified Tuesday that there was no struggle over the weapon.
Weekley is not accused of intentionally killing Aiyana, but Mertilla Jones made that accusation when she testified earlier this week.
Earlier Thursday, a judge declined to throw out the involuntary manslaughter charge; a request that is standard procedure in a criminal trial when the prosecution finishes presenting evidence.
Defense attorney Steve Fishman claims prosecutors failed to prove their case. In closing arguments, he asked the jury to consider whether his client was being truthful in his account of that night’s events.
“Is Officer Weekley lying? He described the entirety of his training, his experience, the scene,” Fishman said. “Was he lying? Did you think so? You sat here and listened to him. Did you think he was making it up?”
The case is now in the hands of the jury.
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