ST. LOUIS, MO — Jason Stockley is not guilty of murder in the 2011 shooting death of a suspect after a police pursuit. The judgement came out just before 9 am.
Judge Timothy Wilson said the State failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, which he wrote would mean he should be firmly convinced of the defendant’s guilt. Judge Wilson said he was not.
In his 29 page ruling, the Judge Wilson starts by saying he must judge the evidence and not be swayed by “partisan interests, public clamor and fear of criticism.”
The State said it was disappointed in the decision surrounding this 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley admitted telling his partner they were going to kill the suspect. It was 45 seconds later when he did shoot him to death.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said she stands by her office’s actions and this decision won’t change anything. She said, “There is nothing that will stop me from providing every person from a fair and impartial process. The resistors to change will not stop me, the critics will not stop me and most certainly this verdict will not stop me.”
Gardner said her office will continue investigating officer misconduct. She added, “Right now we have about 25 cases. We’re looking at those cases. We’re going to evaluate those cases thoroughly. We’re going to be the best, but we’re asking for more resources. We’re asking for more independent investigation as we go forward.”
Jason Stockley’s attorney Neil Bruntrager said the judge’s ruling was both just and thorough. He said, “I was really glad Chris that he took the time to write out what he looked at, all the information that he saw, every witness that he heard and put that in his opinion, in his decision.”
He said his client should never have been charged. Co-counsel Brian Millikan added that this scrutiny is having a chilling effect on good police work. He said, “I’ve seen it over and over since the Michael Brown case. The bottom line is people are nervous. They do take extra time. Just last week I handled a shooting where the policeman probably waited too long.”
Judge Wilson addressed the key pieces of evidence point by point. Regarding Stockley telling his partner they were going to kill the suspect the Judge wrote “People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations.” He said those words have to be judged on what happens next and he pointed out several actions by Stockley before he shot the suspect show he did not intentionally kill the suspect unlawfully.
This is the full text of the Judge's decision: