Detroit cop charged in death of girl, 7

Oct. 5, 2011 at 2:09 PM
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DETROIT, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Detroit police officer has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl during a raid of her house last year.

Joseph Weekley, a member of the city's Special Response Team, was charged in the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed after midnight May 16, 2010, when police raided her east Detroit home in search of a murder suspect, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Officers had thrown a flash grenade into the living room, where Aiyana was sleeping with her grandmother.

Prosecutors said Weekley, 35, "immediately fired his weapon, striking and killing Aiyana" when he stormed the home, The Detroit News reported.

Police have said Weekley fatally shot the girl after her grandmother grabbed his gun -- a claim the grandmother denied.

The Free Press said police who raided the home were searching for Chauncey Owens, a suspect in the shooting death of 17-year-old Je'rean Blake Nobles two days earlier. In a plea deal, Owens agreed to testify that Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, gave him the gun he used to kill Nobles.

Witnesses have testified Jones was with Owens when the teen was shot, the News said.

Jones was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on charges including first-degree murder.

The raid was being filmed by a crew from "The First 48," a cable TV reality show, and Allison Howard, a principal photographer with the show, has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice charges, facing accusations of lying under oath during the investigation.

Weekley faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on the manslaughter charge. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf, said his attorney, Steve Fishman.

"He knows he didn't do anything wrong," Fishman said. "He knows he was acting as a police officer on a dangerous mission."

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