Detroit officer charged in 7-year-old's death takes the stand - New York News

Detroit officer charged in 7-year-old's death takes the stand

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Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley on the witness stand on Thursday. Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley on the witness stand on Thursday.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

It was a day of dramatic testimony in the manslaughter trial of the Detroit cop charged with killing seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones as Officer Joseph Weekley took the stand in his own defense.

"You said that you have two daughters. Am I right?" Weekley was asked.

"Yes," he said.

Weekly fought back tears recalling how he left his own six- and eight-year-old daughters to track down a murderer that night back in May of 2010, the night when he shot and killed Aiyana as she slept on the couch. Weekley did not see her. She was covered with a blanket when the flash-bang distractionary device was thrown through the window.

As soon as the bang goes off, I hear a [noise] coming from underneath what I thought was laundry, and so now I'm like there's somebody hiding under here," Weekley said.

The officer testified he had his sights on another man he spotted in a back bedroom, then turned toward the couch where he heard the sound.

"As I swing my weapon towards the person, an unidentified woman hit my weapon down in a downward motion, and I pulled back on the weapon ... I heard a shot," Weekley said.

"When you heard a shot Officer Weekley, did you know it came from your gun?" he was asked.

"No, I didn't," Weekley said.

Instead, he testified he thought he was being fired at and went after the man in the back, but that man did not have a gun, and when Weekley turned around, he said he saw Aiyana and her grandmother and realized what he had done.

"It's your responsibility to have control over that gun, isn't it?" Weekley was asked.

"It is my responsibility to have control over my weapon, yes," he said.

"Your gun is the one that fired the bullet that killed Aiyana, right?" Weekley was asked.

"My bullet, my gun shot and killed a seven-year-old girl, yes," he said.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Rob Moran maintained Aiyana's grandmother never went for the gun and that Weekley was lying and made a mistake that was grossly negligent and criminal. At times during the testimony, the exchange was heated.

"In order to get to that front door, you had to step over that little child's chair, didn't you?" Moran asked Weekley.

"No, sir," he said.

"You didn't see that either, did you?" Moran asked Weekley.

"I never saw the chair," he said.

Moran claimed police missed signs that children were in the house and questioned Weekley's story about Mertilla Jones going for his gun.

"All I can see is the shadow of her arm, top of the lady's head, and she's grabbing and hitting down so hard," Weekley said. "As she hits it down, I start to pull it back. I hear the shot, and I immediately go."

"Your testimony is that you didn't know you shot your gun?" Weekley was asked.

"No," he said.

"You didn't hear it shoot?" Weekley was asked.

"I heard it," he said.

"You didn't feel it shoot at all?" Weekley was asked.

"No, I didn't feel it," he said.

"So you pulled the trigger on that gun?" Weekley was asked.

"I pulled the trigger of that gun unintentionally and didn't even realize it at the time," he said.

So was that a crime or was it a tragic accident?

"I just feel devastated and just depressed, and I'll never be the same," Weekley said.

"Do you feel you were negligent at all with how you handled your weapon that night?" he was asked.

"No," Weekley said. "Every day this replays in my head. There's nothing else I could've done differently."

The jury will begin deliberations on Friday.

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