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Man executed for killing police officer

July 18, 1997

JARRATT, Va. (AP) _ A man who killed a policeman answering a domestic dispute call thanked prison officials for a meal of grape juice and unleavened bread, muttered an unintelligible prayer and was put to death.

Roy Bruce Smith, 50, was executed by lethal injection Thursday for killing Sgt. John Conner III in 1988.

Connor was among police who had gone to Smith’s townhouse in Manassas, where a drunken Smith had been arguing with his wife.

Conner, 37, ordered Smith to drop his weapons _ a semiautomatic rifle and two handguns. Smith fired several times, wounding the officer three times in the back and leg. As Conner tried to crawl away, Smith shot him in the back of the head, prosecutors said.

Smith claimed other officers killed Conner.

In his final appeals, Smith argued he should not have been convicted of capital murder of a policeman because he didn’t know Conner was one.

Conner was the first Manassas police officer killed while on duty since the city’s incorporation in 1873.