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Key witness is calm in Detroit officer's trial

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DETROIT (AP) — A key witness whose stormy remarks temporarily halted the trial of a Detroit police officer returned for more testimony Tuesday, speaking slowly and softly about a chaotic raid that killed her 7-year-old granddaughter while the girl slept on a couch.

Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway warned Mertilla Jones not to "act out." Clutching a tissue in her left hand, she was very calm, even when a defense lawyer suggested her screams and tears last week were intentional.

"Your demeanor's a lot different," said Steve Fishman, attorney for Officer Joseph Weekley, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Jones repeated her claim that Weekley intentionally killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones in 2010 during a midnight search for a murder suspect. Prosecutors won't go that far, but they accuse the officer of recklessly handling his gun while leading an elite police unit into the home.

Jones said she was at one end of a couch while Aiyana was sleeping at the other when police threw a stun grenade through a window and stormed through the door.

"As soon as the door opened, I heard a shot go off," Jones said. "I was asking the police, 'Don't come in like that. Let me get my grandbaby off my couch.' Before I could get anything out of my mouth, Aiyana was shot."

She denied interfering with Weekley — a key point in the case. Weekley insists he mistakenly pulled the trigger when the grandmother grabbed his gun, although other officers are expected to testify that they saw no struggle.

The trial was stopped last Wednesday when Jones couldn't control her emotions. She sobbed, yelled and pointedly told Weekley, "You killed my grandbaby."

Fishman asked for a mistrial Monday, saying Jones had acted like a "fool" and spoiled Weekley's right to a fair trial. Jurors, however, said they still could be fair, and the judge declined to end the trial.

"You did that on purpose didn't you?" Fishman asked during cross-examination Tuesday.

"No," Jones softly replied.

Jones, who has two sons in prison for murder, acknowledged to Fishman that she has said she hates police. Earlier, while being questioned by prosecutor Rob Moran, she described personal humiliation on the night Aiyana was killed.

Jones said she was arrested in her pajamas while officers rushed the gravely wounded girl to a hospital. Jones was driven to a police station, locked up and never told about Aiyana's condition.

"I don't feel like I can trust them," she said of police.

This is Weekley's second trial. His first ended without a verdict in June 2013.


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