Stockley Murder Trial Verdict Will Come After August 18, Judge Says

Aug 9, 2017 at 2:26 pm
click to enlarge A mugshot of Ex-St. Louis cop Jason Stockley from his May 2016 arrest. - via Harris County Sheriff's Office
via Harris County Sheriff's Office
A mugshot of Ex-St. Louis cop Jason Stockley from his May 2016 arrest.

The judge tasked with deciding the guilt or innocence of an ex-St. Louis cop charged with first-degree murder announced in court today that he wants to gather data and reflect on the case "rationally" before issuing a verdict — and that won't be before August 18.

That announcement came after closing arguments in the case today against former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer Jason Stockley.

Last year, Stockley was arrested at his Texas home and charged in St. Louis with committing premeditated murder. The arrest occurred nearly five years after Stockley shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011, in the aftermath of a police pursuit that ended near the intersection of West Florrisant and Acme avenues in north St. Louis.

Citing video footage from dash cams and bystanders with cellphones, prosecutors claim Stockley murdered Smith in cold blood and planted a revolver on his victim.

Stockley's defense attorneys argue those claims aren't backed up by the evidence, and that it was Smith, in fact, who owned the revolver. Stockley testified on Monday that he opened fire in self-defense as Smith was reaching for the firearm.

Stockley waived his right to a jury. His trial has been a bench trial, essentially meaning he has a jury of one — St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson. After hearing each side's closing arguments earlier today, Wilson asked the defense and prosecuting attorneys to file streamlined written summaries of their respective positions by August 18.

Although Stockley is officially charged with first-degree murder, prosecutor Robert Steele noted in his closing argument that the judge could choose to render a guilty verdict on a lower charge, including second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

However, regardless of the charge the judge may choose, Steele maintained that one thing was apparent: "Without a doubt," Steele said, "Jason Stockley is guilty." Now St. Louis is waiting to see if Judge Wilson agrees.

For more on this case — which is a rare example of a police officer charged with premeditated murder — check out RFT's previous trial coverage:

Ex-St. Louis Cop Jason Stockley Testifies That He's No Murderer

Three Days In, the Case Against Jason Stockley Rests on Audio and Forensics

Prosecutors Question Why Stockley Was Allowed to Search Suspect's Vehicle After Shooting

St. Louis Cop Jason Stockley Fired the Kill Shot from Six Inches Away

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at [email protected]