DALLAS - The trial of a former Mesquite officer who shot an unarmed man during an investigation last November ended with a hung jury.
The judge declared a mistrial after jurors could not agree on whether Derick Wiley was justified in using excessive force.
The jury tried to decide if Wiley was justified in his actions. And after 10.5 hours of deliberating, they remained split 8-4 in favor of finding Wiley not guilty. The judge declared a mistrial.
In November, Officer Derick Wiley confronted Lyndo Jones while answering a call about a suspected car burglar.
Wiley testified he thought Jones was armed and his life was on the line. He said that’s why he shot Jones in the back. During Jones’ testimony, he admitted he was getting high in his own truck at the time. He said he didn’t know the person ordering him to the ground was a police officer.
“We are not talking about shoot first, ask questions later. That’s not what our law is. That person has to be using or attempting to use deadly force against that individual and we know that that was not the case,” said prosecutor George Lewis.
“I know Officer Wiley wanted 12 people to hear this decision because he would rather have that than six people carrying his casket,” defense attorney Kathy Lowthrop argued.
During the last two days of deliberations, the jury asked several questions some having to do with Wiley’s testimony and self-defense.
Often times, when it’s clear a jury is deadlocked the judge will read them the Allen Charge, essentially telling them to go try harder to reach a verdict. That did not happen in this case. The judge said he believes the Allen Charge would have been ineffective.
Wiley was present in court for deliberations but slipped out without talking to reporters afterward.
Jones and the attorneys representing him spoke about the civil lawsuit against the former officer and the city of Mesquite.
“We gonna be back. I ain’t have no words,” Jones said. “Just a look. But we’ll be back.”
“We have a long way to go if the jury can’t automatically come back with a guilty for this officer,” said attorney Lee Merritt. “But we will continue to push until we get there.”
“We are very impressed with him as an officer and what we would have liked to see was this not guilty so that he can go back on the streets and be a good officer because he would’ve like to get his job back if that happens,” Lowthorp said.
During the trial, defense attorneys argued Jones was not complying with Wiley’s commands in the moments leading up to the shooting. The two were on the ground in a brief struggle. But prosecutors say he was compliant and only appeared to resist because he was in pain as Wiley tried to hold him down to handcuff him.
The DA’s office says it respects the jury’s decision and will be up to District Attorney Faith Johnson to decide in coming weeks if they will retry the case.