Fremont , Ohio . The death of Bryan Jones is not yet done being heard in the courts.
The Jones family, through their attorneys Murray and Murray, filed an appeal in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this week asking for a new trial in the July 11, 2010, police shooting death of Bryan.
He had been on a two-day drinking binge and threatened his mother when his family called Sandusky County Sheriff's Office for help in getting their son into jail for violating parole and into a treatment program, which had helped him before.
Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer ordered the SWAT team called out before he arrived at the scene. Once there, he ordered the four-man team into the home where Jones was asleep on the couch with an unloaded gun on his lap. Deputies Jose and Mario Calvillo opened fire and shot Jones after a flash bang grenade was thrown and Jones started to rise.
A jury of nine men and three women were asked last year to decide whether officers acted recklessly and with a disregard for Bryan Jones safety when they deployed the flash bang. The $20 million wrongful death lawsuit brought by the Jones family named the Sandusky County Sheriff office, Overmyer and deputies Jose and Mario Calvillo. Overmyer and the deputies were exonerated.
“If things had been done differently, if they had heard everything, the outcome would have been different,” said Kim Jones, mother of Bryan Jones, regarding the reason for the appeal.
Kim Jones has continued the fight, not only to hold accountable those who she says wronged her son, but to stand up for change, change in how officers are trained to try to prevent another son, husband, wife or daughter from being killed by law enforcement.
Dennis Murray Sr., lead attorney for the Jones family, said he knows some people may feel they had their day in court. They were in court but the family did not have their day in court, he said. A jury should be able to hear all details surrounding a case and then render a decision. It is then that a family has their day in court, Murray said.
The full protection of the law is critical for everyone but especially for those people who have a past, he said.
The appeal argues six points.
• The jury should have been able to determine whether Overmyer, by his decisions and orders, was responsible for the death of Jones as he was asleep, or passed out, on the couch in his family home.
Attorneys for the county successfully requested that if jury members found the brothers were not guilty, then they were not to consider Overmyer's actions and plan to enter the home.
• The jury should have been told the weapon Jones held was not loaded.
• The jury members in the federal trial should have been told about previous discipline taken against Deputy Jose Calvillo, who along with his brother, deputy Mario Calvillo, fired the shots that killed Jones.
Jury members were never told Jose Calvillo was on a last-chance agreement with the sheriff's office. He had been reassigned as a corrections officer so he no longer would carry a gun while on duty. He somehow remained on the SWAT team. That information was prevented from being entered as evidence.
• Jury members should have been told about an investigative report by Sandusky County lead Detective James Consolo that was critical of his own department. A pretrial motion by the county was approved by the court, which prevented Consolo from discussing his report in the trial, a substantial blow to the Jones case.
• Murray argues the closing arguments made by Teresa Grigsby, attorney for the county, before the jury were inflammatory against Jones. Bryan Jones made his own choices that forced difficult decisions by the deputies, she said.
She discussed Jones' past conviction for shooting at a home and how he chose to get his gun and sit on the couch, where he could see anyone coming into the home. However, Murray was not allowed to counter that the gun was unloaded and therefore Jones could never have intended to shoot anyone.
A sleeping Jones never moved off the couch, and because deputies by design never attempted to negotiate with him, it is believed he was unaware law enforcement were even outside his home.
• The federal court abused its discretion when it denied a new trial in the Jones case.