Cross-Examination Continues in Trial of Ex-Mesquite Officer Accused of Shooting Unarmed Man

Jones said he had been using marijuana and cocaine in his pickup before the shooting

Cross-examinations continue Thursday in the trial of a former Mesquite police officer accused of unlawfully shooting an injuring an unarmed man last year.

Lyndo Jones, shot by ex-officer Derick Wiley Nov. 8, was cross-examined by the defense for a second day.

Lyndo Jones told jurors Wednesday that he stopped in the parking lot where he was shot because he had gotten lost on his way home from work in Arlington.

Jones said he had been using marijuana and cocaine in his pickup before the shooting. Jones recalled for the jurors what it felt like to get shot.  

"It felt like someone was pushing me down, holding me down but I was trying to run, you know when someone run and push you, that's what it felt like," Jones said.

On Thursday, Jones was pressed about his assertion that he did not know the man who came up to his pickup truck was a police officer.

Lead defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp reminded Jones of his answers during interviews with authorities while in the hospital in which he indicates an officer shot him.

Lowthorp also questioned Jones about his decision to get off the ground and begin to run from the officer despite previous warnings he would be shot.

"You don't think anything about that resisting the officer at the time of the breaking free from him, you don't think you did anything wrong," she asked.

"I complied ma'am," Jones responded.

"Sir, if you had just laid down and kept your hands behind your back and allowed this officer to put handcuffs on you, you don't think this whole thing would have been different," she argued.

"It would have," he agreed.

But it was the state's second to last witness of the day who made a surprising assertion in court.

Henry Leaverton, co-owner of the business where Jones parked his truck, took the stand.

Leaverton said he approached Jones because his truck's alarm kept going off.

Leaverton describes Jones as acting erratic and someone who would not leave despite being told to leave.

Leaverton admitted he did not see the actual shooting of the man, but did see a struggle on the ground.

"Once I saw the struggle it was scary," he said. "I thought there could be trouble here. It looked to me that Mr. Jones was going after any and everything around [Wiley's] belt area."

Lead prosecutor Bryan Mitchell pressed his own witness when Leaverton contended he felt the officer was justified in shooting the unarmed man.

"It's fair to say you can't testify whether or not what officer Wiley did was reasonable that night in shooting Lyndo Jones," Mitchell said to Leaverton.

"Yeah, I think I can," Leaverton responded after a brief pause.

"But you didn't see the shooting," argued Mitchell.

"I saw the struggle. That was very violent explosive," responded Leaverton.

Jones said he ran from Officer Wiley because Wiley threatened to shoot him.

"Does anybody deserve to die because they used a little bit of drugs?" asked Justin Moore, also representing Jones. "Ask yourself that. I think you can come up with your own answer and I would assume that your answer is 'no, you don't deserve to be shot in the back.'"

Wiley faces one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Wiley told police he thought Jones was burglarizing a truck when he confronted Jones and demanded him to get on the ground. Jones was the owner of the truck, and when Wiley spotted him, Jones was trying to get into the vehicle. 

On Tuesday, Wiley's body camera video was introduced as a key piece of evidence, showing the nearly two minute exchange escalating into violence and shots being fired.

The video also shows Jones complying with the officers orders, followed by a struggle, and then Jones being shot twice in the back.

During a police interview, Wiley said he thought he was in danger. Lead prosecutor Bryan Mitchell told jurors on Tuesday that Wiley was especially unreasonable.

Wiley was fired by the Mesquite Police Department after an internal investigation found he violated multiple department polices during the shooting. Wiley has appealed his termination.

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