DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has scheduled a Sept. 15 trial date in the case of a Detroit police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 7-year-old girl.
Prosecutors pursued the second trial for Officer Joseph Weekley, whose first trial ended without a unanimous verdict last year. The trial date was set Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
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.
Last week, 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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