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After judge's ruling, team for former Grand Rapids officer Christopher Schurr vows to appeal

 Matthew Borgula is the lead attorney for Christopher Schurr's legal team.
Daniel Boothe
Matthew Borgula is the lead attorney for Christopher Schurr's legal team.

After a judge refused to toss out a second-degree murder chargeon Friday, attorneys for former Grand Rapids Police officer Christopher Schurr say they plan to appeal. It's a decision that could set the criminal trial back months.

The defense had argued that Schurr was justified in the shooting death of Congolese immigrant Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop last April based on an 1846 Michigan state law that authorizes police to use deadly force when a felon is attempting to escape, and therefore, the second-degree murder charge should be dropped.

On Friday, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Christina Elmore said that was for a jury to decide and ruled that the criminal trial would proceed.

After the ruling, Schurr’s lead counsel Matthew Borgula said his team would be filing with the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“I don’t know how anyone can watch that video and think that [Lyoya] wasn’t trying to escape or trying to get away.”

The appeal, however, will most likely delay the start of the criminal trial, which is scheduled to begin in March and last for several months.

Meanwhile, Patrick Lyoya’s family has stated that they are growing increasingly frustrated with the Kent County Prosecutor's Office over how long the process is taking.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker says his team has been in communication with them.

“We told them that this was going to happen today, and we will try to keep them up to date the best we can.”

If the defense loses its appeal, the legal team could then make another appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, which then would delay the start of the trial even further.

Copyright 2023 WKAR Public Media. To see more, visit WKAR Public Media.

Daniel Boothe | WGVU