Jury will not hear murder case against former-SLMPD officer - KMOV.com

Jury will not hear murder case against former-SLMPD officer

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Jason Stockley (KMOV) Jason Stockley (KMOV)
Anthony Lamar Smith (KMOV) Anthony Lamar Smith (KMOV)
Investigators on scene of the fatal officer-involved shooting in December, 2011. (KMOV) Investigators on scene of the fatal officer-involved shooting in December, 2011. (KMOV)

A former police officer charged with murder will not have his case heard in front of a jury. A judge Monday approved the officer’s request to allow the judge to hear the case instead.

Jason Stockley, a former officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The incident occurred near Acme and West Florissant on December 20, 2011.

Stockley’s trial is scheduled to start July 31. A statement from the Circuit Attorney’s Office says they are “disappointed that a jury of St. Louis citizens will not have the opportunity to review the evidence.”

Read: Former St. Louis cop charged with murder in 2011 shooting; victim's family speaks

A motion for the prosecutor’s office argued against a bench trial, saying “Officer involved shooting cases are of particular interest to the public. Removing these cases from juries and letting a single judge determine guilt in such controversial cases creates a perception amongst the public that police officers accused of crimes get special treatment.”

Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his order allowing the bench trial that he is confident in the court’s judgment and analytical abilities.

“This is not an easy case. Whatever the ultimate outcome, it will likely be melancholy,” Judge Wilson wrote.

Prosecutors allege Stockley and another police officer chased Smith at speeds over 80 MPH following an alleged drug deal in a fast food restaurant at Thekla and Riverview. During the pursuit, the officers’ car crashed, but the officers continued pursuing Stockley.

Prosecutors said that during the pursuit, Stockley is heard saying he is “going to kill this [expletive].”  At the end of the chase, the defendant is heard telling the other officer to “hit him right now”, at which point prosecutors say the police SUV slammed into his car. Stockley then, allegedly, approached the driver’s side of the car and shot five times into the car, striking Stockley with each shot. Smith died as a result of the shooting.

A gun found in Smith’s car was determined to have the officer’s DNA on it, according to prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office first reviewed the case in 2012. Both the FBI and the SLMPD Internal Affairs Division did extensive work on gathering evidence, although no charges were filed. In March, 2016, SLMPD Internal Affairs investigators contacted the Circuit Attorney’s Office to review the matter with additional evidence developed through both the SLMPD and the FBI, which eventually led to the charges last year.

Christina Wilson, the mother of Anthony Smith’s daughter, said the murder charges only confirm the truth that she has always known.

“I just want the justice for my daughter,” Wilson said to KMOV, at the time charges were filed against Stockley. 

In 2013, attorney Al Watkins settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Louis Police Department on behalf of Wilson’s daughter.

Stockley left the department in 2013. He is currently out on bond.

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