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Defense Continues Testimony in Day 4 of Former Mesquite Police Officer's Retrial

A 'use of force' expert, the sergeant who initially investigated the case and a Mesquite business owner all took the stand Thursday on the fourth day of the retrial of former Mesquite police officer Derick Wiley.

Wiley is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a peace officer for the November 2017 shooting of Lyndo Jones. If convicted, he faces five to 99 years in prison.

The state rested its case against Derick Wiley on Thursday after three days of testimony.

Wiley's defense then began calling several witnesses they believe will prove the ex-officer was justified in using deadly force on Jones.

Jones already took the stand on Monday and Tuesday.

Wiley also took the stand on Thursday.

The Mesquite police sergeant who investigated one of his own officers took the stand on Thursday.

Sergeant Michael Parker says he is the one who made the decision to only charge Jones with evading arrest after watching the officer's body camera video.

The charge was later dropped.

Parker testified he decided not to file a warrant for Wiley's arrest, given the statement Wiley provided police after being allowed to see his own body camera video.

"[Wiley] indicated he was in fear of his life at the moment he fired his weapon and in that case in my opinion as an investigator that makes that action justifiable," said Parker.

Parker testified he felt the investigation needed more time before being sent to the grand jury which indicted Wiley.

The case was sent to the grand jury 20 days after the shooting.

But on cross examination Parker admitted the department has turned over investigations within days of deadly shootings occurring.

The state had Jon Priest, a national use of force expert to look at the case.

"Is there any point in that [body camera] video did you see at any time after the separation off the ground where Lyndo Jones posed a threat to officer Wiley such that he needed to use deadly force," asked Prosecutor Bryan Mitchell.

"No," responded Priest.

Also taking the stand on Thursday afternoon, Henry Leaverton, the owner of the Mesquite parking lot where the shooting happened.

Leaverton testified he noticed someone setting off their truck alarm and went to inquire if it was a stranded motorist.

Leaverton says he asked Jones if he was okay and proceeded to ask him to leave his property.

When that did not happen, Leaverton's brother called 911 to report a suspicious person.

Leaverton was the state's witness in the first trial.

However, his testimony no-doubt damaged the state's case when he testified he felt the officer was justified in his use of force even though he did not witness the actual shooting.

Leaverton contends he witnessed Jones trying to grab at the officer's gun and that made Leaverton afraid for the officer's life.

Derick Wiley was the final person to take the stand Thursday, testifying in his own defense once again. 

"I thought I was going to die out there," said Derick Wiley. 

Wiley re-enacted the moments when he had Jones on the ground before Jones wiggled lose and tried to get away. Breaking down body camera footage frame by frame, Wiley showed jurors that he couldn't fully see both of Jones hands. He said he feared he was holding something. 

"I came up. I thought he had a gun, and I fired twice," said Wiley. 

It was a decision that took just a split second based on an assumption the defense challenged. 

"It almost killed a man those wrong assumptions you made, right?" asked Mitchell.

"Yes," answered Jones.  

Testimony on Thursday continued until after 7 p.m.

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