DETROIT (WWJ) – The judge has declared a mistrial after a jury has failed to reach a verdict after three days of deliberations in the trial of a Detroit police officer charged in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl.
Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony, 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 May of 2010.
Reporting from the courthouse, WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton said this was a case of a hung jury.
“It appears that some jurors wanted a guilty verdict, while other jurors did not. And after it was reported that screams could be heard from within the jury room, the judge felt that there was no way this jury could come to a decision,” Langton said.
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 that there was no struggle over the weapon.
Mertilla Jones told reporters she’s disappointed that the jury failed to convict this cop.
“It really hurt bad … We waited for three years for this trial only to be, you know, deadlocked and declared a mistrial,” she said. “We gotta go the rest of our lives living without Aiyana.”
Mertilla Jones added, “We get more support from people around the world — not just different states, but around the world — than we’re getting from where she was born, raised and was murdered. Murdered — not manslaughter. She’s a little girl; she’s not a man. She was murdered!”
The raid was being filmed for a reality show, and Aiyana’s family members believe the officers involved were more concerned about how they looked on TV than they were about properly conducting their police work.
In closing arguments, assistant prosecutor Rob Moran said Weekley may be a nice man, but his “actions were criminal.”
Defense attorney Steve Fishman claimed prosecutors failed to prove their case. He asked the jury to consider whether his client was being truthful in his account of that night’s events.
A pre-trial hearing in the case was scheduled for July 25. A retrial date is expected to be set at a later time.
Outside the court, Mertilla Jones was consoled by Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and other supporters.