MIAMI (WSVN) - A North Miami Police officer who shot an unarmed behavioral therapist in 2016 has been found not guilty of two counts of attempted manslaughter but guilty on a culpable negligence charge.
The jury delivered their verdict just before 9:45 p.m., Monday.
The verdict marked the end of a two-week long retrial after Jonathan Aledda was acquitted of a culpable negligence charge in March, during his first trial.
Earlier Monday, Aledda took the witness stand in his defense.
“It appeared to me that it was a threat, and there’s nothing denying the feelings I had that day, sir,” Aledda testified. “Nothing can change that. I thought the white male had a gun, that was now loaded, was getting angry at the black male who he was holding hostage against his will.”
Viral cellphone video showed Charles Kinsey lying on the ground with his hands in the air while his client with autism played with a silver toy truck.
“All he has is a toy truck,” Kinsey said in the viral video. “A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.”
Before the second trial began, Aledda turned down a plea deal that would have given him one year of probation and taken away his credentials to work as a police officer in Florida.
Prior to the verdict, both the prosecution and the defense presented their closing statements.
“He was performing his duties as a sworn police officer to protect and serve, had to make a split-second decision and made it, and made it,” defense attorney Jay Kolsky said.
“‘I thought I could make the second shot.’ He couldn’t,” prosecutor Don Horn said. “‘I thought I could make the third shot.’ He couldn’t, and because of all of those assumptions, all those erroneous bits of information that were operating in his mind, Mr. Kinsey ended up getting shot — almost getting killed.”
Both the defense and the prosecution will return to court next Tuesday for a status hearing.
“We think that the verdict they returned was fair, and we’ll be back in court on Tuesday to get information regarding a sentencing day, and we’ll see what happens then,” said Horn.
“He shouldn’t even have been charged to begin with, and we’re disappointed that they found him guilty of a misdemeanor. We’ll face the judge in a couple of weeks, and hopefully he’ll do the right thing,” said Hartman.
“I think justice was served. I think the jury spoke for the community. I think that it sends a message that before a firearm is discharged at a human being we need to take more care and pride before we shoot first and ask questions later without knowing all the information,” said Kinsey’s attorney, Hilton Napoleon II.
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released the following statement on Tuesday morning:
“Since July 18, 2016, our community has been traumatized by North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda’s shooting of mental health therapist Charles Kinsey. Last evening, a jury decided that the shooting was not an error or an accident, but a crime. We are grateful to each of the jurors for their thoughtful evaluation of all the evidence and thank Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine for his professionalism in the handling of this case. This was a difficult case for all the parties involved and for the people of Miami Dade County. I also want to thank the community, witnesses and victims for participating in the criminal justice system and for supporting our efforts to hold people accountable for their actions regardless of who they are or what position they hold. I am very proud of my trial team, Chief Assistant State Attorney Don L. Horn, Assistant Chief of Special Prosecutions and Legal Unit Christine Zahralban, Senior Trial Counsel Reid Rubin, the amazing support staff who assisted them, and my dedicated investigators who brought witnesses from across the state for all the different proceedings and trial. I truly appreciate their service and unrelenting dedication to this community. They are members of the Best Team in America. Now my legal team will prepare for the upcoming sentencing phase of this case.”
Aledda faces up to one year in prison and will be sentenced on Aug. 7.
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