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Grandmother Says She Watched Police Kill 7-Year-Old

2:14 PM, Jun 10, 2013   |    comments
Mertilla Jones (The Detroit Free-Press)
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Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press

DETROIT - Mertilla Jones took the witness stand Monday and tearfully recalled the night three years ago that police raided her home and her granddaughter was fatally shot.

Jones, 50, testified that she was on the couch May 16, 2010, with 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in the front room of her home on Detroit's east side.

The girl's head was closest to the door, and Jones' head was on the other end of the couch when she began hearing "a lot of commotion."

The front window broke, she heard officers yell "police," and the door was kicked open. It all happened simultaneously, she said.

Then she heard a boom and Jones said she rolled onto floor.

She was on her stomach on the floor looking at the front door and saw police rushing in, she testified.

"As soon as they came in, the gun was just pointed right there at Aiyana's head," she said.

Then an officer pulled the trigger.

"I seen the light leave out of her eyes, and the blood started gushing out her mouth and she was dead," Jones said.
Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley is accused of fatally shooting Aiyana during the raid that targeted a murder suspect. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm causing death and is on trial in Wayne County Circuit Court. This is the fifth day of testimony.

An unintentional shot from Weekley's gun killed Aiyana after police fired a sun grenade and stormed the home. What is contested is exactly how that happened.

Weekley has said his gun accidentally fired when Jones reached for it. Prosecutors say he was negligent in failing to control his weapon.

Jones testified previously that Weekley came in, put the gun to Aiyana's head and pulled the trigger.

He walked in and the gun was pointed down level to the couch, Jones clarified when asked what she meant by that.

Weekley's lawyer, Steve Fishman, questioned the credibility of Jones in his opening statement and said her story about what happened that night has changed.

Under cross examination Monday, he questioned a previous statement to police where she said shots came through the window. She responded that she didn't recall saying it that way.

Jones said she believes the officers came there to kill and does not think they had a search warrant for her property.

"The evidence is not going to show that he intended to murder her," Robert Moran, Wayne County assistant prosecutor, said previously. "The evidence is going to show that he was grossly negligent."

Police have testified they had warrants for both addresses in the upper and lower flat of the two-unit dwelling.

Fishman contends the girl died from a "tragic accident" that happened as police attempted to apprehend a man suspected in the murder of a 17-year-old days earlier.

Fishman asked Jones if she hated police, and she replied, "No, I don't."

Under cross-examination, Jones said she blamed Weekley for the death of Aiyana and blames police for the arrests of her son and Aiyana's father, Charles Jones; and Chauncey Owens, who was the target of the raid the night Aiyana was shot.

Jones is accused of providing the gun used to kill 17-year-old Je'Rean Blake and faces first-degree murder charges in the teen's death along with Owens.

Police conducting surveillance before the raid said they had seen Owens, who was in the upstairs flat, going through Mertilla Jones' door.

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