DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A hearing for a Detroit police officer blamed for the death of a 7-year-old girl during a raid has been postponed.
Joseph Weekley’s hearing had been set for Friday, but the prosecutor’s office says it’s been rescheduled for March 21. At the hearing a judge could set a new trial date, months after a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict in Weekley’s involuntary manslaughter trial.
There is no dispute Weekley’s gun went off, killing Aiyana Stanley-Jones while she slept on a couch in 2010 — but he says it was an accident.
Weekley maintains he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his submachine gun after the team threw a “flash bang” grenade and entered the home. The grandmother denies she touched the gun, and another officer testified that there was no struggle over the weapon.
The raid was being filmed for the A&E reality show “The First 48,” 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.
Meantime, in another Wayne County courtroom on Friday — the man whom police were trying to find during the raid, Chauncey Owens, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder. Owens was convicted of killing a 17-year-old Je’Rean Blake outside a Detroit party store in 2010. Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, was convicted of second-degree murder in the case. According to police, Jones provided the gun and Owens pulled the trigger.
Last summer, a videographer who filmed the raid for the TV show was sentenced to probation in connection with the case. Allison Howard, in June, pleaded no contest to obstruction of justice for lying about trying to sell footage shot on the night Aiyana was killed.
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