Judge has leeway in Stockley decision

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ST. LOUIS – Missouri Governor Eric Greitens activated the Missouri National Guard Thursday in anticipation of the Jason Stockley judgment.

Stockley is the former St. Louis police officer accused of executing a suspect after a police pursuit in December 2011.

Both the St. Louis City and St. Louis County police departments have announced 12-hour shifts for officers starting Friday at 6 a.m.

It’s been 36 days since the judge got this case after closing arguments. There’s been no official court announcement as of late Thursday afternoon, but authorities are ready if the decision comes down Friday.

It’s important to point out that while Jason Stockley is charged with first-degree murder, the judge’s decision does not have to a be a stark guilty or not guilty ruling. Judge Timothy Wilson can use his discretion to find the defendant guilty of a lesser charge, like second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

The state charged Stockley with first-degree murder, alleging he premeditated the killing – that he thought about what he was going to do when telling his partner they were going to kill the suspect. It was about 45 seconds later when Stockley shot Anthony Lamar Smith to death.

The defense has argued the former officer’s comment was taken out of context because Stockley was frustrated with the way their pursuit was going.