Father of Aiyana Stanley-Jones gets paroled in killing of teen

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — Charles Jones, whose role in a high school student's 2010 slaying helped spark the police raid that ended with the officer-involved shooting death of his 7-year-old daughter Aiyana Stanley-Jones, has been granted parole.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Jones was given a "contingency parole" after completing required prison programs, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz said Monday. Jones does not have a release date identified, although he could be freed as early as Thursday, Gautz said.

"(Jones') parole guideline score placed him in the high probability of parole range," Gautz said in an email. "He has completed various programming and is active in vocational training. The prisoner has not incurred any serious misconducts while in prison."

The mother of Jones' victim, Lyvonne Cargill, said: "I'm stressed thinking about that man coming home." But she added: "I hope he does the right thing when he gets out and tries to help these other young Black males out here; tell them about life — and tell them what he did."

On May 14, 2010, Jones handed a .357 magnum pistol to his friend Chauncey Owens, who gunned down Cargill's son, 17-year-old Je'Rean Blake, outside the Motor City Marketplace on Mack at St. Jean on Detroit's east side. 

Charles Jones

Owens didn't like the way the Southeastern High School teen had looked at him, according to court testimony.

Two days later, a crew from the Detroit Police Special Response Team raided Jones' house on Lillibridge Street, blocks from the store. The team, which had received intelligence that at least one rifle was in the house, was accompanied by a crew from the cable TV show, "First 48."

Officers deployed a "flash bang" grenade and kicked in the front door, and raid team leader Joseph Weekley led the crew into the house. Within seconds, Weekley fired his MP5 rifle, killing Aiyana, who was sleeping on the living room couch with her grandmother Mertilla Jones.

Lyvonne Cargill, 47, holds the obituary program from her son Je'rean Blake's funeral inside her Detroit apartment.

Aiyana’s death garnered national attention, including sharp criticism from the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Weekley, who retired from the police department in 2019, claimed Mertilla Jones grabbed his rifle, causing it to discharge. He was charged twice with involuntary manslaughter, but both cases ended in mistrials. In 2019, Jones' family agreed to an $8.5 million wrongful death lawsuit settlement against the city of Detroit in connection with the raid.

Owens was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Jones pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 40-60 years, although in 2017 the Michigan Court of Appeals granted him a new trial.

The appellate court ruled the presiding judge in Jones' case hadn't adequately answered jurors' questions during deliberations. Jones was retried in 2019 for manslaughter and for being a habitual offender, and was sentenced to 10-20 years, with 2,841 days credit for time served.

Cargill said because of COVID-19 restrictions, she was unable to attend Jones' parole hearings to contest his release.

"We had to do it by paperwork, and they read the letters from my side of the family (during the parole hearing)," Cargill said. "They said he'll be on parole until 2030, and he or his family can't be around my family.

"It's irking me so bad," Cargill said. "My sugar is going up from stress. It's hurting me. I forgive him, but I don't forget what he did."

Cargill said her two surviving children, a 30-year-old daughter and son, 22, took the news of Jones' pending release hard.

"It bothers them," she said. "(Jones is) the one who gave (Owens) the gun to kill their brother. If he didn't give him the gun, they feel like their brother would still be alive, and Aiyana would still be alive."

ghunter@detroitnews.com

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN