June 3, 2010 at 1:00 am

Court testimony links Aiyana's father with teen's killing

Court testimony names passengers in vehicle with man when he allegedly fatally shot teen

Charles Jones is the father of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. (Brandy Baker / The Detroit News)

Detroit -- A man named "C.J." was among the passengers in the vehicle that delivered Chauncey Owens to a liquor store parking lot, where he allegedly shot and killed a high school student, according to a detective's court testimony Tuesday.

That man, "C.J.," has been identified as Charles Jones, the father of Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Two days after the May 14 slaying of 17-year-old Jerean Blake, officers raided the rental house on Lillibridge, where Jones lived in the downstairs unit, searching for Owens. During the raid, a police bullet killed Jones' 7-year-old daughter.

A Detroit Police detective testified during Owens' preliminary examination in 36th District Court that a man named "C.J." was among four occupants of an SUV that took Owens back to the parking lot after an earlier confrontation with Blake.

Witnesses testified that Owens stepped from the vehicle with a handgun and shot Blake before returning to the truck and driving away.

No other occupants in the vehicle have been charged. Judge Willie Lipscomb Jr. on Tuesday ordered Owens to stand trial for first-degree murder.

Shortly after Michigan State Police took over the investigation of Aiyana's death, State Police Capt. Harold Love said her family didn't cooperate with them, forcing detectives to get a search warrant to enter the home to collect evidence.

Police had speculated at the time that the family, which has filed a lawsuit against police claiming negligence and a cover-up, might have been following legal advice.

However, their attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, said the family wasn't home when troopers knocked. Fieger also has called previously published reports that Charles Jones might have been involved in the shooting of Blake "police disinformation."

Fieger on Wednesday declined to talk about the allegation, but asked, "What does one have to do with the other? It's pretty obvious what's going on, isn't it? In order to deflect attention from what happened to a little girl, they (police) are doing everything and saying anything."

Troopers reported finding two stolen cars behind the house. The cars were on blocks and appeared to have been there for some time, Love said.

Wayne County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Maria Miller declined to comment Wednesday when asked if charges against the others in the vehicle are being considered.

"The investigation into the death of Jerean Blake is continuing," Miller said.

Blake's family has complained since Owens' arrest that Charles Jones was in the vehicle and he also should be charged in the case.

"C.J. is Charles Jones. They need to get the rest of the guys -- all of them need to be locked up along with him," said Blake's mother, Lyvonne Cargill, said after Owens' preliminary exam.

Detroit Police Homicide Detective Theopolis Williams testified Tuesday that he interviewed Owens after his capture on May 16 in a simultaneous raid on the flat above the unit where Aiyana was killed.

Williams testified that Owens told him he rode the short distance from the store to the house on Lillibridge, where he informed "C.J." and others at the house about the confrontation with Blake.

"I told them out back of the store there's some n----- talking (expletive) -- let's go," Williams said Owens told him.

Williams said "C.J." and men known as "Little James" and "Dirt" rode in the vehicle while Owens drove. Williams said "Little James" provided Owens with the handgun, a .357 Magnum. Williams said the gun was brought along on the ride because C.J. was wearing expensive "diamond Cartier glasses" and wanted to prevent anyone from stealing them.

Gary M. Wilson, a former assistant Wayne County prosecutor, said Charles Jones and the others in the SUV could face charges if prosecutors are able to prove they were aware Owens planned to commit a crime.

"There's a basic rule in Michigan: That accessories to crimes are considered principals," said Wilson, who now practices law in Grosse Pointe Farms. "If you're not the shooter but you know what's going on, you could be charged with homicide.

"They went there for a reason; let's start with that. So if (Jones) knew they were going there for an illegal purpose, and he knew about the gun, he could be charged as a principal in the shooting. If you involve yourself in a felony, you're responsible for anything that flows from it."

However, Wilson said it's unlikely Charles Jones could be held accountable for causing Aiyana's death.

"What would prevent that from happening would be the fleeing felon rule," he said. "It didn't happen immediately afterward, so there's a time element. If, for instance, the police were chasing him and he ran into the house, that would be different. But that didn't happen here."

Detroit News Staff Writer Steve Pardo contributed.