GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the appeal filed by Christopher Schurr, the former Grand Rapids police officer who shot and killed Patrick Lyoya in April 2022.
Schurr is arguing that the second-degree murder case should be thrown out, saying that Michigan common law gives officers the right to use deadly force against a fleeing felon. Prosecutors disagree, saying the law requires the use of reasonable force and arguing that Schurr was not justified in shooting Lyoya. Judges in Kent County agreed, saying the defense’s argument would set two different standards for murder. They said the matter should be put before a jury.
With Schurr’s leave to appeal approved Thursday, the state appeals court will review the county courts’ decision to send his case on to trial.
In a Thursday statement, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said the possibility of the appeal had always been there:
“We were informed by the Michigan Court of Appeals today (April 13, 2023) that they have granted the defense request for leave to appeal and will review the decisions by Judge Ayoub and Judge Elmore to set this case for trial. This was always a possibility, and simply means they are reviewing the determination that the defendant was properly bound over for trial. Both parties will have an opportunity to file additional briefs with the court, and present oral argument at a time to be set later by the Court of Appeals. We have no additional information at this time.”Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker
Ven Johnson, an attorney handling Lyoya’s family’s civil lawsuit, released a statement saying Shurr’s defense is using a common tactic.
“In the criminal case, the Michigan Court of Appeals today granted the defense request for leave to appeal. The court will review the rulings made by Judge Ayoub and Judge Elmore, which reviews Judge Ayoub’s ruling that there was probable cause to believe that Christopher Schurr is guilty of second degree murder of Patrick Lyoya. This is a commonly used criminal defense tactic and simply means the determination that the defendant was properly bound over for trial is being reviewed. Despite this delay, it is part of the legal process, and we are confident that justice for Patrick Lyoya will be achieved.”Attorney Ven Johnson
The shooting happened April 4, 2022, in Grand Rapids after Schurr pulled Lyoya over. Video shows Lyoya run away and the two struggle over Schurr’s Taser. Ultimately, Schurr, who was on top of Lyoya trying to hold him down, shot him in the back of the head. That led to a charge of second-degree murder, after which Schurr was fired.
Both sides previously said an appeal could lead to a delay in the trial. As of now, the trial is scheduled for October.