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St. Louis officer unique in opting for trial without a jury

Former St. Louis city police officer Jason Stockley, 36, center, arrives with his legal team on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, at the Carnahan Courthouse in S...

Former St. Louis city police officer Jason Stockley, 36, center, arrives with his legal team on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, at the Carnahan Courthouse in S...

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The fate of a white former St. Louis police officer accused of killing a black man rests with a judge, not a jury of his peers. Experts say that given the public scrutiny of recent police shootings, Jason Stockley's decision to opt for a bench trial makes sense.

Stockley is charged with first-degree murder in the December 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith. The 24-year-old drug suspect who was shot after leading police on a chase. The trial before veteran Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson began Tuesday.

Twelve-member juries typically hear criminal cases. Washington University law professor Peter Joy says there is high public awareness of the case in St. Louis, and a tense relationship between police and the community in some parts of the city.


Updated : 2021-03-05 18:59 GMT+08:00