Timeline surrounding officer’s murder trial in St. Louis
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis judge ruled Friday that former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley is not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. A timeline of events leading up to the ruling:
Dec. 20, 2011:
Stockley and his partner see what appears to be a drug transaction on the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. As they seek to corner Smith, he drives away and Stockley fires seven shots at his car. Defense attorney Neil Bruntrager said the officers were nearly run over.
A two-minute chase begins. Police dashcam video captures Stockley saying, “going to kill this (expletive), don’t you know it,” in the midst of the chase. As Smith’s car slows, Stockley tells Officer Brian Bianchi to “hit him right now,” and Bianchi slams the police SUV into Smith’s car.
Stockley emerges from the SUV and fires five shots into Smith’s car, killing him. Bruntrager said Stockley fired only when Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached along the seat toward an area where a gun was found.
But prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun. Testing found Stockley’s DNA on the gun, but not Smith’s.
Then-police Chief Dan Isom requests an FBI investigation. Stockley is placed on desk duty.
A wrongful-death lawsuit is filed on behalf of Autumn Smith, Anthony Lamar Smith’s 1-year-old daughter.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office meets with then-U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan and both agree there isn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute Stockley.
Stockley resigns from the police department one month after then-police Chief Sam Dotson, who took over in January 2013 after Isom’s retirement, suspended Stockley without pay for 30 days for violating pursuit and use-of-force policies in the Smith case.
Stockley, now living in Houston, takes a job as a project manager for TH Hill Associates, according to his online resume. He leaves the company in January 2016.
The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners reaches a $900,000 settlement, ending the lawsuit filed on behalf of Smith’s daughter.
Aug. 9, 2014:
Michael Brown is fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. The killing of the black, unarmed 18-year-old by a white officer and the November 2014 grand jury decision not to indict Wilson sets off sometimes-violent unrest and leads to scrutiny of police treatment of blacks in the St. Louis region.
May 16, 2016:
Joyce announces first-degree murder charges against Stockley. She cites new evidence, but doesn’t disclose what it is. Stockley is arrested at his home in Houston. He is freed from jail after the St. Louis Police Officers Association, the union representing most St. Louis officers, posts $100,000 of his $1 million bail.
July 24, 2017:
Stockley waives his right to a jury trial in favor of a bench trial. Veteran St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson is appointed to hear the case.
Aug. 1, 2017:
Stockley’s trial begins with a crowd of spectators so large several people have to be turned away.
Aug. 9, 2017:
The trial ends, but Judge Wilson gives attorneys from both sides until Aug. 18 to file post-trial briefs.
Aug. 28, 2017:
A group of about 50 activists who support Smith’s family gather on the steps of the courthouse where the trial was heard and threaten significant civil disobedience if Stockley is acquitted. Organizers say they’ll shut down highways, Lambert Airport or downtown businesses.
Sept. 15, 2017:
Wilson announces a not guilty verdict for Stockley.