Notice that nobody, including the defense lawyer (an officer of the court) has even hinted that the police officers should be charged and tried for comitting a crime. The tape shows them in the act and they admitted it in court testimony and afterwards in public. Anybody want to bet me that they will be charged and tried for breaking the law?
Jury hung in Police shooting case hands
By T.J. WILHAM
MUNCIE - A Delaware County jury couldn't decide whether a Muncie woman accused of a shooting a city police SWAT team member acted in self-defense or not.
After five hours of deliberation late Friday, Delaware Circuit Court 3 Judge Robert Barnet Jr. declared the jury hung and dismissed them.
Prosecutors said the jury was split 7 to 5 in favor of a guilty verdict.
The jury was to decide the fate of Jillian D. King, 30, who was charged with criminal recklessness resulting in injury in connection with the Jan. 14 wounding of Muncie police officer Steve Cox.
Cox was one of 11 SWAT team members about to raid King's boyfriend's home when she allegedly fired shots out of a window. Cox has since recovered.
King's attorney, Michael J. "Mick" Alexander, argued during the three-day trial that his client was acting in self-defense and didn't know that the people coming to her door were police officers.
Most of King's defense focused on SWAT team tactics and procedures. Alexander challenged whether the SWAT team knocks, announces and waits before storming a home.
Under Indiana law, officers must follow that procedure except in certain circumstances.
On Friday, a videotape of King being interrogated moments after the shooting was shown to the jury.
King kept insisting to detectives that she didn't know that two people she saw outside wearing camouflage and black masks were police officers. She said she thought they were would-be burglars.
"They never said they were the police," King said in her videotaped statement. "If I knew they were the police, I would have opened the door."
In the videotape, detectives told her that the SWAT team didn't need to knock and announce.
"The law doesn't say you have to," Muncie Police Investigator Jeff Lacy said while questioning King on video tape. "They are going to sneak in."
During the trial, Lacy testified that he had lied to King in the videotape as an interrogation tactic.
On Friday, King testified that she fired the shots as a "warning" to whoever was outside. Crying during most of her testimony, King told attorneys that she was afraid that the people outside were going to kill her and her three-year-old son.
Earlier in the trial, a videotape of the shooting was shown to the jury. In the tape officers are seen opening outer doors before shots are fired. One officer is seen getting ready to use a door ram before knocking.
State law requires police to knock, announce and wait before opening any door while serving a search warrant.
During closing arguments, Alexander compared the SWAT team to the military and said they didn't follow the law and his client was defending herself against an unlawful entry.
"Who created the circumstances that led to this problem? They did because they didn't follow the law," Alexander said. "They were in fact breaking into her house."
Prosecutors argued that King could have done several other things - including placing a call to 911 - besides grabbing a gun and shooting it "blindly" out a window.
"Frankly, folks, she has an itchy trigger finger," Deputy Prosecutor Mark McKinney said.
After the jury was declared hung, McKinney said he was prepared to try the case again.
Alexander praised the SWAT team, calling Cox a brave man, but still questioned city police department's SWAT polices.
"There were a lot of issues that came out in this trial that should be important to the public," Alexander said. "But this isn't the vehicle for it. [McKinney] will probably try this again. But he might find that it gets tougher."
Other Features Article Search
Email this story
Write a Letter to the Editor
Subscribe to The Star Press