ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Al Watkins, legal counsel for the fiancé and surviving child of Anthony Lamar Smith, issued a statement Friday morning urging people to be calm when the verdict of the Jason Stockley murder trial is announced.
“Justice can be a cumbersome, nuanced and protracted process,” Watkins said. “Regardless of the verdict, the commitment of the state to prosecute Mr. Stockley is, in itself, an important part of all that is justice.”
Watkins called for everyone following the trial to be patient.
“To the extent Mr. Smith can leave a legacy for his child to embrace, it is hoped our city can use this pre-Ferguson tragic loss of life to serve as a catalyst for post-Ferguson healing,” Watkins said.
Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley has been charged with first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting death Anthony Lamar Smith. Stockley waived his right to a jury trail.
Stockley and his partner witnessed what they thought was a drug transaction outside a fast-food restaurant in December 2011. Smith sped away, prompting a high-speed chase. After the chase, Stockley shot Smith five times, killing him.
Stockley is white, and 24-year-old Smith was black.
Authorities said that during the pursuit, Stockley can be heard on his in-car video telling his partner he was “going to kill this [expletive].”
Stockley’s lawyers contend he gave Smith 15 seconds to show his hands, but instead Smith reached for a gun.
Prosecutors say Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after shooting him.
Stockley was charged with first-degree murder in May 2016, after the St. Louis circuit attorney said new evidence came to light.
Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson has been deliberating the case since August 18. Metal barricades were placed around the downtown courthouses in anticipation of the verdict announcement.
Protesters have warned there will be disruptions across the city should the verdict come back finding Stockley not guilty.
“The reaction is going to be something that the city, and St. Louis doesn’t want to see or want to have. There’s going to be disruption everywhere. If we don’t get justice there will be no peace,” Lashell Eikerenkoetter told KMOX.