Ex-St. Louis policeman acquitted of murdering black motorist

Ex-St. Louis policeman acquitted of murdering black motorist

All downtown courthouses will be closed, including the federal courthouse, in anticipation of the verdict.

After a three-minute high-speed vehicle chase, Mr Stockley told his partner, who was in the driver's seat, to ram Mr Smith's auto.

According to the court document, the state asked if Stockley was found not guilty to consider if he would be guilty of a lesser degree of homicide, not to consider lesser offenses. An FBI expert testified that one shot was sacked at Smith from less than six inches away.

A judge has acquitted a white former St. Louis police officer of first-degree murder in the shooting death of a black man following a high-speed chase in 2011.

Mr Smith was a new father and engaged to be married when he was killed on 20 December 2011. The incident started as a police stop following a reported drug sale.

Stockley and his partner, Brian Bianchi, parked their marked patrol auto behind the Buick and got out.

St. Louis police said officers took one man into custody at about 11 a.m., after a police vehicle was damaged.

Dashcam video and cell phone footage of the chase was used as evidence during the trial, as well as DNA evidence from a gun found in Smith's vehicle. "Bianchi swung at the driver's door of the Buick with his gun, breaking the window".

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The trial ends, but Judge Wilson gives attorneys from both sides until August 18 to file post-trial briefs.

The officers then set off in a pursuit that lasted about three minutes. He also noted, "People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations".

"While officer-involved shooting cases are extremely hard to prevail in court, I believe we offered sufficient evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Jason Stockley meant to kill Mr. Smith", Gardner said in a written statement.

Mr Stockley and his partner said they believed they had observed Mr Smith engaged in a drug deal outside a fried chicken restaurant near central St Louis.

The defense pointed to the dash cam video as proof Stockley's life was in danger. Prosecutors pointed to audio of Stockley threatening to kill Smith during the chase and alleged the former officer planted a gun in Smith's auto to justify his actions. "I want every Missourian to listen to Christina's words", he said.

Judge Wilson wrote in Friday's 30-page ruling, "This Court, in conscience, can not say that the State has proven every element of murder beyond a reasonable doubt or that the State has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant did not act in self-defense". The tweet also said rocks were being thrown at the buses. However, he claims that he didn't recall saying it. Wilson wrote the statement "was not intelligible" and that its "context is not clear".

"This court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant's guilt". In his decision, Judge Timothy Wilson determined the state had not met its burden of proof in the capital murder case against Stockley beyond a reasonable doubt.