DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The grandmother of a girl killed during a 2010 police raid sobbed and yelled in court as she accused a Detroit officer of lying about the shooting.
Mertilla Jones testified Wednesday in the trial of Joseph Weekley, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones.
Weekley insists he mistakenly pulled the trigger when Jones grabbed his gun. But Jones vigorously denied it.
“Why’d you do that? Tell me why you do that, came into my house like that,” she said, getting emotional. “You killed my grandbaby. You killed her and you tried to blame me. You know I never touched you, Mr. Weekley. You know I never touched you.”
The jury was excused while Jones was escorted from court. Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway later told jurors they can’t decide the case based on sympathy.
The trial will resume Monday.
It’s the second trial for Weekley, coming 15 months after another jury failed to reach a verdict.
All sides acknowledge that Aiyana’s death was not intentional. But prosecutors say Weekley’s actions were a crime because he handled his submachine gun in a reckless manner.
Prosecutors say Weekley, a member of an elite Detroit police team, failed to follow his training when he stormed into the house looking for a murder suspect with his finger on the trigger and shot Aiyana, who was asleep on the couch.
Weekley has said he mistakenly fired the gun while trying to wrestle it away from Jones, seconds after he led a pack of officers into the home around midnight to find the suspect.
Jones denies any interference, but her credibility is a cornerstone of Weekley’s defense. Defense lawyer Steve Fishman plans to highlight some of her provocative statements before the first trial, in which she accused police of intentionally killing Aiyana.
Aiyana’s death capped a chaotic night. With a reality TV crew outdoors, filming for A&E’s “The First 48,” Weekley and other members of Detroit’s Special Response Team raided the home in riot gear after first throwing a stun grenade through a window. It released smoke, bright light and vibrations to confuse anyone inside.
Earlier this year, 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, Charles Jones provided the gun and Owens pulled the trigger.
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