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Trial starts for Detroit cop charged in girl's shooting death

June 3, 2013 at 6:23 PM

DETROIT, June 3 (UPI) -- Opening statements Monday in the trial of a Detroit police officer charged in the shooting death of a young girl during a raid centered on control of his gun.

Three years after Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, died after being shot in her home by police officers looking for a homicide suspect, the involuntary manslaughter trial of officer Joseph Weekley began in Wayne County Circuit Court. A jury will decide if the girl's death was an accident, or criminal negligence on Weekley's part, the Detroit Free Press reported.

During her testimony, Dominika Stanley identified the blanket that covered her daughter when she was shot while sleeping on a couch, WDIV-TV, Detroit, reported.

Prosecutors said Weekley did not follow police procedure in keeping his finger off the trigger of his gun.

Defense attorney Steve Fishman said the girl's grandmother, Mertila Jones, struck Weekley's gun after police, accompanied by a TV crew, set off a flash grenade in the house.

"Officer Joe Weekley did not walk into that house and shoot Aiyana Stanley-Jones without somebody doing something to that gun," Fishman said in court.

The trial Monday was interrupted twice by information given to Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway a local news station was broadcasting a live feed of the trial that included showing members of the jury. At the end of the day's testimony, Hathaway banned the cameras of WJBK-TV, the news website Mlive.com reported.

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Topics: Wayne County
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