Emotional outburst halts trial for Detroit officer in girl's death
DETROIT – The grandmother of a 7-year-old girl who was killed by a Detroit police officer's gun was escorted off the witness stand Wednesday during her testimony.
There is no dispute that Joseph Weekley killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones May 16, 2010, while she slept on a couch during a search for a murder suspect. But he says the shooting happened when the girl's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his gun in the chaotic moments following the use of a stun grenade. Jones denies any interference.
The grandmother testified that she was dozing in and out as she watched TV on a couch with Aiyana. Aiyana was sleeping at the opposite end with her head on the couch's arm.
Jones said all was quiet in the house until she heard her window break and saw police kick in her door.
"One cop shot Aiyana in the head as soon as he walked in the door," Jones said. "I was laying there screaming, asking for someone to help because he had just shot her in the head. He wouldn't even help her. They turned on the lights and seen she had been shot."
Jones broke down crying and yelled "You killed my grand-baby" at Weekley as he sat in the courtroom.
"Why you do it? Please, tell me. Why did you come in my house like that? Tell me why you came in my house like that ... you know I've never touched you Mr. Weekley," Jones said. "You know you're wrong. You're wrong. She was only seven years old. She was only a baby."
Jones was led out of the courtroom and Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway reminded jurors now to be swayed by emotions.
"You cannot decide this case based on sympathy or bias or prejudice. The attorneys and I are confident that you still will abide by that instruction," Hathaway said. "You probably aren't surprised that this case is highly emotional. We may have these outbursts periodically, but that's not what you're to decide this case by."
Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter. It's his second trial. The first ended without a verdict in June 2013.
The raid was part of police's hunt for the suspect in 17-year-old Je'rean Blake's shooting death. Blake was killed two days prior to the raid outside a Detroit convenience store. Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, was convicted of second-degree murder for allegedly giving the gun used in Blake's shooting to Chauncy Owens. Owens was also found guilty of murder for Blake's death.
Moments before Aiyana was killed, police threw a stun grenade through a window, emitting smoke, bright light and vibrations to confuse people inside. The raid was recorded for a police reality TV show, "The First 48," and some video was used at the first trial.
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