New evidence revealed that former St. Louis Officer Jason Stockley may have planted a weapon after the 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith.
Videos taken by a police SUV, a surveillance camera, and a witness cellphone piece together the trail of events in the most accurate way. This new evidence will be used for the prosecution against Stockley, who is being charged with first-degree murder.
On December 20, 2011, Stockley and Officer Brian Bianchi attempted to arrest Smith for drug-related crimes. The officers believed to have seen Smith taking part in a drug deal in a parking lot of a Church’s Chicken. During the attempted arrest, Stockley approached Smith in his vehicle. Smith then backed his car into the police SUV and drove by Stockley, who was carrying a non-authorized AK-47 rifle.
Stockley fired his police weapon at Smith’s car, which continued to drive away. Stockley then got back into Bianchi’s vehicle and the two engaged in a high-speed chase. Eventually, Stockley instructed Bianchi to ram into the back of Smith’s car.
After the police vehicle crashed into Smith’s car, Stockley exited and approached Smith. Stockley continued to hold the AK-47, which he was not authorized to carry.
The video during the interaction between Smith and Stockley is obstructed; however, Smith does fire five shots into Smith’s car, killing him.
When additional officers arrived on the scene, footage captured Stockley returning the rifle to his police car and reaching into a duffle bag. After Smith’s body was removed from his car, Stockley went into the driver’s seat.
According to Stockley, he shot at Smith because he saw a silver handgun. Although investigators did remove a gun from Smith’s car, in 2013, only Stockley’s DNA was found on the weapon.
This evidence does not prove the weapon was planted, but Jennifer M. Joyce, the St. Louis circuit attorney, finds this discovery extremely troubling.
“We believe we have the evidence we need to prove Mr. Stockley’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Joyce said. “The actions of this former officer are very concerning in this case.”
Stockley will be tried for first-degree murder. One of his initial hearings takes place on Oct. 3.
Video of the incident, posted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch, can be seen below.
(Photo: Craig Berg / EyeEm/Getty Images)
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