DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Jurors say they’re struggling to reach a verdict in the trial of a Detroit police officer who killed a girl during a raid. They gave that message Wednesday afternoon to Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway on the first full day of deliberations. The jury will return to court on Thursday.
Joseph Weekley is charged with recklessly using a firearm, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of two years in prison. A judge last week dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Weekley isn’t accused of intentionally killing 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. But prosecutors told jurors that Weekley carelessly violated his training by having his finger on the trigger. Defense attorney Steve Fishman says the girl’s death was an accident, not a crime.
Weekley’s first trial ended without a verdict last year.
Also charged in the case was Allison Howard, 42, of Brooklyn, New York. Howard, the principal photographer and a field producer for the television series, was indicted on perjury charges. Howard is alleged to have had control over the video footage that became crucial evidence in the investigation of Aiyana’s death.
The fiancé of Aiyana’s aunt, Chauncey Owens, who was the subject of the raid, was arrested in the home’s second-floor flat in the separate murder case — the May 14, 2010 death of 17-year-old Je’rean Blake.
The Wayne County prosecutor then announced charges against Aiyana Jones’ father, Charles Jones, 26, in connection with Blake’s death.
It is alleged that, after the argument, Jones accompanied Owens to the scene and aided him in the murder. The charges against Charles Jones include first degree murder, felony firearms and perjury. He was sentenced in that case.
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