A jury deliberated less than an hour last Thursday following a three-day trial in Denver District Court, and afterward, Hasan Jones was acquitted in a drive-by shooting case.
But that doesn't mean that the man shot almost two years ago by gang member turned anti-gang activist (and Westword cover-story subject) Terrance Roberts has been set free.
While the 24-year-old was awaiting trial on six counts stemming from the May 2014 shooting, including attempted murder, he was charged by the Arapahoe County District Attorney's office with felony child abuse causing death in connection with the mysterious death of Ny'Ari Sanique "NyNy" Hines at the Aurora apartment where Jones lived with the two-year-old and her mother, Quisa Antoine. Those charges were filed in May, nine months after Jones was found next to the unconscious girl; he is currently in Denver County Jail on a fugitive hold from Arapahoe County.
On August 18, 2014, the Aurora police were called to an apartment on Potomac Street on a medical emergency; the police found NyNy unconscious on the floor near the bedroom. Her mother was standing in the bedroom and Jones was sitting in his wheelchair near the girl, attempting CPR, according to the police. Jones, who is paralyzed, had been alone with NyNy all day, Antoine told police. NyNy was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. An autopsy found "extreme bruising" on the little girl. The arrest affidavit states that she died from internal bleeding caused by a bowel laceration resulting from blunt-force trauma to the abdomen.
Jones, who told Aurora police he "didn't do anything to the little girl," according to the affidavit, was arrested that day in connection with the Denver drive-by.
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He himself was shot in September 2013 by Roberts, who will go on trial for attempted murder in September. Roberts claims he shot Jones in self-defense, because Bloods were out to get him.
"I'm not upset about him getting acquitted at all — he deserved his day in court the same way I deserve mine," Roberts says of Jones's acquittal in the drive-by case. "If a jury felt he was not proven to be guilty, then he got the type of justice we all fight for in the streets and the courts."
But while Roberts says he isn't concerned about Jones's acquittal in the drive-by case, he's definitely concerned about the dead child. "I want to know what has happened to this two-year-old baby he is now charged with killing?" says Roberts. "With or without my pending case concerning Hasan, everyone should want to know! He was found with a deceased, abused, two-year-old baby on his lap. As a man and a father, I want to know. Hasan has done nothing but destroy my life, my children's lives, his family's lives, his other victims' lives, his own life and our community."
Roberts's trial, which has been postponed several times, is now set to start in Denver District Court on September 29.