A judge ruled that the former Grand Rapids, Mi., police officer who fatally shot Patrick Lyoya in April will face a jury trial. Judge Nicholas Ayoub said a jury will decide if Christopher Schurr should be convicted of second-degree murder, reports the Detroit Free Press. "(T)here is at least some evidence from which a person of average intelligence could conclude that defendant’s shooting of Lyoya in the back of the head was not reasonably necessary to prevent his escape," Ayoub wrote. "As the prosecutor suggests, at the instant that the shot is fired, Lyoya is not in a position of actively escaping or fleeing. A reasonable juror could find a lack of necessity for deadly force strictly for the purpose of preventing escape." Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker expects the defense to appeal Ayoub's decision. The trial isn't likely to take place until next year.
Schurr's defense lawyers have argued he was justifiably using lethal force. "This is not something the family is celebrating," said Ven Johnson, an attorney representing the Lyoya family in civil matters. "Obviously it's a very difficult day, it's been nearly seven months since Patrick was shot in killed in the middle of a lawn in the middle of a morning. It's been a very difficult process for the family." Lyoya's father, Peter, said through a translator that it was difficult to sit through the preliminary exam, where both parties replayed the footage of his son's shooting as evidence. On the morning of April 4, Schurr pulled over Lyoya. Footage released by the department, which was shown during the two-day hearing, shows Lyoya getting out of his car as he's pulled over. After a back-and-forth where Schurr asked Lyoya to present his driver's license, Lyoya ran away from Schurr, and Schurr chased Lyoya through the front yards of nearby homes. Schurr eventually tackled Lyoya, the two struggled and Schurr could be heard telling Lyoya to "stop" and to "let go of the Taser,” in the footage. Schurr’s stun gun was deployed twice but never made contact.