Aiyana's grandmother grilled in Detroit cop case

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Detroit — The grandmother of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was grilled on the witness stand Tuesday by the attorney for Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley, who killed the girl during a 2010 raid.

Before Mertilla Jones took the stand, and prior to jurors entering the courtroom Tuesday, Wayne Circuit Judge Cynthia Gray-Hathaway warned Jones to refrain from inflammatory outbursts toward Weekley, who is accused of manslaughter and reckless discharge of a weapon.

Jones last week was escorted from the stand after she wailed at Weekley and called him a liar for his contention that she grabbed his gun during the raid.

"In order to get respect, you have to show respect," the judge said. "Everyone in this courtroom showed you a great deal of respect and patience. That will not be the case with this judge if you continue to act out the way you did last week. We all know you're hurting, but it doesn't call for you not respecting each other, and respecting this jury."

On Monday, Hathaway questioned jurors individually to determine if the emotional outburst had influenced their ability to render a fair verdict. All 12 jurors and 2 alternates said they wouldn't let the episode affect how they saw the case.

Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman, said during Tuesday's cross-examination of Jones that last week's tirade was an attempt to influence the jury. Fishman also accused Jones of lying because she insists Weekley entered her home on Lillibridge, put his gun to Aiyana's head, and pulled the trigger.

"You know that's a big lie. Don't you?" Fishman asked. Jones answered: "No."

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran asked Jones to recount the night of the raid.

"I heard a loud explosion and I seen a lot of light. I rolled off the couch and I hit the floor. The door flew open and the police came in," she said. "I heard a shot go off. I was asking police … to get my grandbaby off the couch. Before I could get anything out of my mouth, Aiyana had been shot.

"Aiyana's eyes just flew open, and blood started coming out of her mouth. I said, 'y'all done (expletive) up; you shot my grandbaby.'"

Ron Scott, spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, issued a statement after Tuesday's proceedings, criticizing the way Hathaway and Fishman have treated Jones.

"It is a travesty of the system to sanction Mertilla Jones for doing what any grandmother would do," Scott said. "After all, this is a woman who sat on the blood-stained couch where her granddaughter was killed four years ago, after police raided her home with cameras in tow.

"This is the grandmother who, after seeing her granddaughter with a bullet in her head, was taken to jail that same night," Scott said. "She is now only expressing the pain and anguish which cannot be felt, described or quantified by anyone but her. The court should, at the very least, give her that space, a space she has every right to claim."

Also Tuesday, Detroit Police Corp. Larry Davis of the Special Response Team which conduct, testified that squad members are trained to keep their fingers off the trigger of their guns, even when someone is trying to take the weapon.

Prosecutors contend Weekley was reckless by keeping his finger on the trigger, and say if he'd followed his training, Aiyana would not have been killed, despite the officer's claim that Jones slapped at his MR-5 submachine gun as he entered the home.

Weekley's first trial in June 2013 was declared a mistrial after jurors could not reach a verdict.