Date set for Pownall murder trial

Former police officer Ryan Pownall is scheduled to go on trial for the killing of David Jones in January 2020.

Members of David Jones’ family speak to reporters Oct. 11, 2018, after a hearing for former police officer Ryan Pownall. Doretha Crosby, Jones’ mother, is pictured center. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Former police officer Ryan Pownall, charged with murder in connection with the 2017 killing of David Jones, is scheduled to go on trial early next year.

A Superior Court judge last month set a five-day jury trial for Pownall to begin Jan. 6, 2020. Pownall, 36, of Bustleton, is facing third-degree murder and other charges in a case that has sparked protest and outrage.

Pownall was charged in September after a grand jury report determined he did not follow police department protocol and unnecessarily killed Jones, 30, during an incident June 2, 2017, in Feltonville.

At the time, Pownall was a 15th District officer, and he was transporting three people to the Special Victims Unit when he came upon Jones, who was riding a dirtbike near Whitaker and Hunting Park avenues, according to the report.

The report found that Pownall, after stopping Jones, fired his gun at least three times and hit Jones twice in the back following a confrontation during which Jones threw his own gun away.

After the shooting, Black Lives Matter demonstrators protested outside Pownall’s home and the 15th Police District.

In September 2017, Police Commissioner Richard Ross announced Pownall’s suspension with intent to dismiss.

On Oct. 11, a judge downgraded Pownall’s murder charge, from first degree to third degree. Pownall was also allowed to leave jail on house arrest and $500,000 bond. He had previously been held without bail.

Fortunato “Fred” Perri Jr., Pownall’s attorney, and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby have both said they believe a jury will not convict the former officer. ••