Smith family attorney finds verdict 'appalling', says city has ' -

Smith family attorney finds verdict 'appalling', says city has 'right to be mad'

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

Less than an hour following the judge's ruling that St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of murdering Anthony Lamar Smith, the attorney for Smith's fiancee spoke with reporters on the steps of the 22nd Circuit Courthouse. 

Attorney Al Watkins said the judge made the decision to rule Stockley not guilty after the state did not meet the burden of proof, in the judge's opinion. It's an opinion Watkins and his client Christina Wilson disagree with. 

"I can tell you on a personal level, being intimately familiar with all of the evidence in this case, the facts in this case, that I find the ultimate disposition, the ruling, to be appalling," Watkins said Friday morning. "(The ruling is) appallingly contrary to all the evidence that was present, all of the evidence that was introduced into the record as a matter of official entry in this case." 

Watkins said Smith's family is disappointed. 

"The community will be appropriately, surely, disappointed and all that we can hope for, and pray for, is that there is peace in the days to come rather than what we, unfortunately, fear will occur." 

On the morning of Sept. 15, Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson issued his ruling against 36-year-old Stockley.

Stockley could have been sentenced to up to life in prison without parole had he been convicted. According to the court documents, the state asked if Stockley was found not guilty to consider if he would be guilty of a lesser degree of homicide, not to consider lesser offenses. The document states that “the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley did not act in self-defense.”

 Watkins said the judge was straightforward in his opinion that the state did not meet the burden of proof and that the judge was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. But Watkins said it is the duty of the prosecution to prove their case, and that a defendant can sit and say nothing if they so choose. 

"What I regret is that the glaringly demonstrative evidence in the form of, not one video, but two videos, an On-Star , and witness statements and DNA evidence and just the extraordinary contradictions between the statements and the evidence did not rise to the level to meet that burden (of proof)," Watkins said. 

Watkins said while the judge did not find the burden of proof, he wants to make sure everyone knows what their rights are regarding their reaction to the verdict. 

"What the city needs to know is, what the country needs to know is, every single person in this country, we have a right to be mad," Watkins said. "We have a right to disagree. We have a right to express our opinion. We have a right to protest. Exploit that right. Do not compromise it. Stay peaceful."

When asked is he and Wilson will plan to move forward with a civil litigation, Watkins said they plan to move forward. 

We are still moving forward with reconciliation of deviation by the city of St. Louis from court protocol mandating the federal court proceedings for the civil rights case, Yes." 

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