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Ex-Grand Rapids officer will face jury in killing of Patrick Lyoya, judge rules

Former Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr faces a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Former GRPD Officer Christopher Schurr will face a jury in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya, a Michigan judge ruled Monday. 

After two days of hearings, 61st District Court Judge Nicholas Ayoub took the weekend to mull over final arguments, witness testimony and review evidence in the case against Schurr, who is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya

"Applying the probable cause standard, there 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," Judge Ayoub said. 

"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."      

You can read the opinion here: 

Credit: WZZM

"The NAACP Greater Grand Rapids Branch is pleased with Judge Nicholas Ayoub’s decision to move forward with former Officer Schurr's trial. We look forward to former Officer Schurr being judged by a jury of his peers for murdering Patrick Lyoya," the local NAACP branch said. 

Ven Johnson, the attorney representing the family of Patrick Lyoya in a separate civil lawsuit, issued this statement: 

"The case will now rightfully move to trial, which is the next step in our pursuit for obtaining full and complete justice for the murder of Patrick Lyoya. Our legal team will continue to fight to ensure former Grand Rapids police officer Christopher Schurr and the City of Grand Rapids are held accountable for his actions"

Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker said there's no question there was a death and an intent to kill, but it's up to a jury to decide if the use of deadly force was justified.

"We saw the evidence and we made our arguments," Becker said. "We'll kind of stand on what we said in the corner here today arguing for bind over."

Schurr's attorneys disagree, arguing the prosecutor was unable to prove the action was unreasonable.

"The evidence is shown here that they cannot prove this beyond a reasonable doubt," Schurr's defense attorney Matt Borgula, said. "There's absolutely no evidence to suggest from anybody who's in law enforcement, who's an expert in the field, that this wasn't justified under the circumstances."

Borgula added that Schurr is disappointed by the judge's opinion, but at the same time, trusts his legal council to represent him going forward. He feels strongly his client will be acquitted.

"Whether someone under those circumstances whose job it is to investigate and arrest those committing crimes, whether he was justified in using deadly force – that's the standard and the standard we'll see at jury trial," said Borgula.

A total of eight witnesses testified during the hearing: five from the prosecution and three from the defense. 

The testimonies included a police officer who responded to the scene of the shooting and two neighbors who lived nearby.

The court also heard from the passenger and friend who was in Lyoya's car the morning of the shooting.

The conclusion to this preliminary hearing comes nearly seven months after Schurr shot and killed Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop in Grand Rapids. 

Schurr is facing a second-degree murder charge, which carries a potential sentence of up to life in prison if convicted.

The shooting happened Monday, April 4 just after 8 a.m. near the intersection of Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue SE in Grand Rapids. Schurr pulled Lyoya over, who was driving with a friend in the passenger seat.

Lyoya got out of his vehicle, and after a brief physical struggle and fight over the officer's taser, Lyoya was shot in the back of the head and killed.

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