Louis Braces for Verdict in Police Shooting Trial

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Posted: Sep. 15, 2017 7:00 am Updated: Sep.

The ruling, handed down by St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, ultimately read: "This court, in conscience, can not say that the state has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, or that the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense".

National, state and local elected officials have weighed in on the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer who fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Stockley says he saw Smith holding a gun before the chase began, and that he felt he was in imminent danger when he opened fire.

Prosecutors accused him of planting the gun in Smith's vehicle in order to justify the shooting, pointing out that Stockley's DNA was found on the gun, but not Smith's.

The judge who decided the matter declared that he would not be swayed by "partisan interests, public clamor or fear of criticism".

The 36-year-old former officer was charged with first-degree murder and accused of planting a gun in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith, however, was acquitted of all charges on Friday. "You don't get video and audio of a guy with a badge saying in the minutes preceding his shooting of somebody 'We're gonna kill this (expletive), don't you know'".

According to the court document, 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.

Mr Stockley and his partner said they believed they had observed Mr Smith engaged in a drug deal outside a fried chicken restaurant near central St Louis.

"Anthony Smith didn't deserve to die on December 20, 2011, but Jason Stockley took his life anyway and tried to cover it up", Levinson said. The officer wasn't charged but later resigned. "After all, peace can only be achieved by the peaceful, and I know the people of St. Louis are ready to lead the way".

Stockley testified he shot Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011 because he thought the drug suspect was reaching for a gun.

The former police officer chose a bench trial rather than a jury.

Stockley's DNA, not Smith's was found on the revolver found in Smith auto, according to police reports. A case in OH twice ended with hung juries, and prosecutors have decided not to seek a third trial. At Stockley's direction, the driver of the police auto slammed into Smith's vehicle and they came to a stop, court documents said.

After he fired, striking Smith in the chest, Stockley returned to the police SUV to retrieve materials to render first aid, but when he came back it was too late. It was the first time the prosecution publicly revealed their belief that Stockley planted the gun, which only contained Stockley's DNA. That's when Smith "rapidly pulled forward up to the building, then frantically drove his Buick backward crashing into the marked police vehicle twice, before speeding away at a high rate of speed", St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson wrote in his ruling.

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