Detroit -- A murder suspect at the center of a botched police raid claims authorities tricked him into signing a confession by taking advantage of his grief over the death of a 7-year-old girl, who was killed when officers stormed her home.
A lawyer for Chauncey Owens, 34, has filed a motion asking a judge to throw out the confession and prohibit Wayne County prosecutors from using the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones against him by forging a link in front of a jury between the fatal police action and allegations that Owens murdered a 17-year-old high school student.
"The story of Aiyana Stanley-Jones is an unrelated incident and has nothing to do with the facts of this case," Owens' lawyer, Pamella Szydlak, wrote in court documents. "Media coverage has made it seem they are one in the same. Defense is fearful that the prosecution will follow the same path."
Owens is in the Wayne County Jail charged with the May 14 slaying of Jerean Blake. Witnesses have testified that Owens picked a fight with Blake in the parking lot of a Mack Avenue convenience store and minutes later returned with friends and a handgun to shoot the youth.
Two days later, Aiyana was killed by a police bullet after officers threw in a stun grenade and burst through the front door of her home in the middle of the night. She had been sleeping on a sofa next to the front door. Officers arrested Owens without incident when they simultaneously raided an upstairs flat in the same building; Aiyana's family lived downstairs.
Witnesses have testified that Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, was among those who accompanied Owens at the time of Blake's shooting. Charles Jones hasn't been charged.
According to motions filed with Wayne Circuit Judge Richard Skutt, Owens was taken into custody wearing nothing but boxer shorts. He was drunk and under the influence of drugs and desperate to learn the condition of the girl, who was the niece of his fiancee.
Five African-Americans killed in knife attacks; 7 other assaults appear to be linked
Doug Guthrie and Micki Steele / The Detroit News
Flint Police are searching for a man they believe has slain five and attacked seven slightly built or vulnerable African-American men in three months, with no apparent reason other than to kill.
"He's killed five people," Flint Police Sgt. J. Leigh Golden said Thursday. "He's just killing them, not robbing them."
Police warn that the serial killer appears to be targeting smaller-framed or otherwise vulnerable victims.
The latest victim was Arnold Minor, 49, stabbed to death early Monday on the city's south side, near Saginaw Street, where several of the assaults have occurred.
On Sunday, Minor and his sister, Stephanie Ward of Flint, had dinner at their brother's home on the north side, and later visited their mother who lives nearby.
Ward said Minor decided to stay late and sat and talked with other family members in the warm night air. Ward said she last saw her brother around 11 p.m. when she left her mother's and drove home to the south side of Flint.
Minor realized too late that city buses had stopped running, so he began the 10-mile southward journey home about 1:30 a.m. on foot, his sister said.
"When they found him, he wasn't far from home," Ward said. "He bled to death on the street. You don't know what goes through somebody's mind to do something like that."
Police believe at least 10 stabbings in the city since mid-May are the work of one man, whom they would only describe as white with light-colored hair who stands a muscular 6 feet tall or more.
Michigan State Police are coordinating an investigation of three more knife assaults in nearby Burton, Genesee Township and Flint Township that are believed to be linked.