The Latest: Man shot by officer was unarmed, witness says
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the murder trial of a former St. Louis police officer (all times local):
A man who was with Anthony Lamar Smith on the day he was killed by a St. Louis police officer says he believes Smith was unarmed.
Jason Stockley’s first-degree murder trial began Tuesday. The white former officer is accused of fatally shooting Smith, who was black, in December 2011.
Stockley and his partner witnessed what they thought was a drug transaction outside a fast-food restaurant. Smith sped away, prompting a chase. After the chase, Stockley shot Smith five times.
Prosecutors say Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after shooting him. Stockley’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said in an opening statement that Smith had a gun in the car and Stockley shot him in self-defense.
But Smith’s longtime friend, Kirkwin Taylor, testified that he rode with Smith to the restaurant. He said he didn’t see a gun and didn’t believe Smith had one in the car.
A prosecutor has accused a white former St. Louis police officer of planting a gun on a black man whom the officer had fatally shot.
An attorney for former officer Jason Stockley denied that allegation during opening statements Tuesday in the officer’s first-degree murder trial in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The defense attorney says Stockley was protecting himself from an armed and dangerous felon.
Smith was shot following a police chase during a drug investigation on Dec. 20, 2011. A key issue is a gun found in Smith’s car. Assistant Circuit Attorney Aaron Levinson said Stockley’s DNA — but not Smith’s — was on the gun. He says Stockley “executed” the 24-year-old Smith and planted the weapon.
But defense attorney Neil Bruntrager said Stockley fired the fatal shots only after Smith refused to put up his hands and appeared to be reaching for the gun.
Video from a police dashboard camera and witnesses, along with DNA evidence, are expected to play a big role as a white former St. Louis officer goes to trial for killing a black suspect in 2011.
Opening statements are planned Tuesday for 36-year-old Jason Stockley. He’s charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith. Charges were filed last year after then-Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce cited unspecified new evidence.
The bench trial is expected to last two weeks.
Smith was shot following a police chase during a drug investigation. A key issue is a gun found in Smith’s car. Police say Stockley’s DNA — but not Smith’s — was on the gun, and Smith’s supporters have accused Stockley of planting the weapon.