Ex-St. Louis officer charged with murder in 2011 shooting

AP News
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Posted: May 16, 2016 7:58 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former St. Louis police officer was ordered held without bond Monday after being charged with first-degree murder in a 2011 shooting of a 24-year-old man after a chase.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce said in a statement that Jason Stockley was on duty when he first fired at Anthony Lamar Smith after police say Stockley witnessed a drug deal. Joyce alleges that during an ensuing pursuit of Smith's car, with speeds exceeding 80 mph, Stockley can be heard on his in-car video telling his partner he was "going to kill this (expletive), don't you know it."

After Stockley and his partner in their police sport utility vehicle forced Smith's car to stop, prosecutors allege, Shockley approached Smith's car and fired five times into its driver's side, striking Smith with each round and killing him.

Lab tests showed that a gun found in Smith's vehicle had Stockley's DNA on it, Joyce said, suggesting that Smith was unarmed.

A judge on Monday ordered Stockley held without bond and he was in custody in the Houston area, where he now lives. Online court records don't show whether Stockley has an attorney. Joyce said he left the St. Louis police force in 2013.

Smith's death came less than three years before a white police officer in the suburb of Ferguson fatally shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed in August 2014, enflaming tensions between police and minorities and stoking the "Black Lives Matter" movement. Activists as late as last month were pressing for charges against Stockley, who is white, in the death of Smith, who was black.

Federal prosecutors who reviewed the circumstances of Smith's death at the request of St. Louis police declined in 2012 to charge Stockley. But in March, Joyce said her office gave the matter a fresh look, given unspecified "additional evidence" developed by St. Louis police and the FBI.

Joyce said she plans to present the case to a grand jury in coming weeks, adding that the U.S. Justice Department also is reviewing the matter.

In 2013, the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners settled a federal wrongful-death lawsuit on behalf of Smith's then-1-year-old daughter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday. Albert Watkins, an attorney for Smith's family, declined to publicly reveal the settlement amount, citing a confidentiality agreement.