DALLAS - A former Mesquite police officer on Monday was found not guilty of aggravated assault by a public servant on after shooting an unarmed man.
Jurors had been deliberating since Friday in Derick Wiley’s second trial for shooting Lyndo Jones twice in the back in November 2017. Wiley visibly reacted when the verdict was announced, nearly falling over in relief at the news and wiping away tears.
“First of all I want to thank God and I also want to pray for Mr. Jones and everybody involved. I just want my life back. I’m just glad it’s over with,” Wiley said afterward to reporters.
Wiley was responding to reports of suspicious activity the night of the incident and said he believed Jones was a car burglar but it turned out he was sitting in his own truck. Jones later admitted he was high on drugs when the officer confronted him.
Wiley testified that Jones was slow to respond to commands and struggled with him as he tried to handcuff him. He did not have backup that night and said he feared for his safety.
The defense was able to convince jurors Wiley thought Jones had a gun and believed his life was in jeopardy when he opened fire. They questioned Jones at length about his drug history and the violations he’d committed prior to being confronted by Wiley.
Prosecutors hoped jurors would base their decision strictly on what played out in the video, which they say shows an unarmed Jones complying and then trying to run away out of fear.
“Obviously we are disappointed in the outcome but this is why we have the system, we have this it’s why we take these cases to the jury and leave it up to them,” said prosecutor Bryan Mitchell.
Wiley’s first trial last year ended in a hung jury. Eight jurors wanted an acquittal and four believed he was guilty.
Jones spoke briefly after the first trial, but did not speak to reporters after this one.
An attorney representing Jones in a civil lawsuit against Wiley and the City of Mesquite, says he’s shocked by the verdict and Jones is devastated. He does not feel the acquittal will impact the civil case and says if anything they’ve learned from the mistakes made in criminal court.
Wiley said he would like to return to the police force and has already filed his appeal with the department on his firing.