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Top charge dismissed for cop who killed girl, 7, in raid

DETROIT - A judge on Friday dismissed the most serious charge against a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a 7-year-old girl during a raid, but the trial also was halted to give prosecutors an opportunity to immediately appeal.

The surprising development came after prosecutors finished presenting their case against Joseph Weekley, who mistakenly pulled the trigger and killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a chaotic search for a murder suspect in 2010.

Defense attorney Steve Fishman said an involuntary manslaughter charge should be dismissed because prosecutors had failed to show that Weekley intentionally created a danger that caused Aiyana's death.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones Personal Photo

"There is absolutely no evidence, none, that's in the least bit credible," Fishman argued.

Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway agreed.

"If I'm going to err, I'm going to err on the side of the defense," she said in dismissing the manslaughter charge, a felony.

Weekley still is charged with reckless discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor. It's his second trial after a jury last year couldn't reach a verdict.

Weekley, a member of an elite police unit, insists he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his gun as officers burst through the door of her home. Jones denied any interference.

The prosecutor's office said it planned to appeal Hathaway's decision. The trial on the lesser charge resumes Monday.

Following Friday's ruling, Mark Diaz, president of the Detroit Police Officers Association, released a statement saying they are "very pleased" with the judge's decision and that they are "confident" Weekley will be exonerated of the remaining charges, reports CBS Detroit.

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