DALLAS - There was more emotional testimony Tuesday as prosecutors cross-examined the former Mesquite police officer who shot an unarmed man last November. Both sides have now rested in the case.
Derick Wiley testified for the second day in his own defense for his criminal trial. He’s charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a peace officer.
Prosecutors were looking for inconsistencies in Wiley’s story about the confrontation captured on body and dash cameras. They questioned whether Wiley took reasonable action when he shot Jones twice in the back after a brief struggle.
Prosecutors pointed out that Wiley did not have his overhead lights on when he rolled up on Jones and didn’t verbally identify himself as an officer. Prosecutors zeroed in on the moment Wiley had Jones on the ground at gunpoint.
“Y'all are pausing the video and all, but I had a split second to make a decision and that decision was to shoot or get shot. And that’s the best I can tell you,” he said.
Wiley shot Lyndo Jones, who he thought was a car burglary. It turns out, Jones was sitting in his own truck in that Mesquite parking lot.
Body camera video does show Jones resisting. He claimed he did not know it was a police officer who ordered him to get on the ground. He was shot twice during the struggle but lived.
Prosecutors told Wiley if he had held Jones at gunpoint until backup arrived, “We wouldn’t be at this point.”
“Correct,” he replied.
After Wiley’s testimony, his defense called two expert witnesses with backgrounds in law enforcement and use of force. Both testified they believe the shooting was justified and that it was a split-second decision. That’s important because Jones was shot in the back. But according to expert testimony, Wiley’s decision to shoot may have occurred before Jones turned away.
On Monday, Wiley broke down in tears while trying to explain his side of the story. He said he felt his life was in danger and it was shoot or get shot. He faces five to 99 years in prison if convicted.
Closing arguments begin first thing Wednesday morning with both sides getting half an hour to make one last plea to the jury before deliberations.