- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A St. Louis prosecutor and former police chief are at odds over the timing of a murder charge filed against a former officer.

Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce charged 35-year-old Jason Stockley with first-degree murder Monday, more than four years after he fatally shot 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith during a police chase in December 2011, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1qtKNIC ) reported. Joyce says Stockley left the department in 2013.

The police chief at the time, Dan Isom, said his investigators gave Joyce’s office evidence years ago.

“Police reports, forensic analysis, video and the autopsy have been available for four years, however the circuit attorney in a criminal investigation had not reviewed any of this information until three weeks ago,” Isom said. “There is no new information that was not known four years ago or discovered by the current chief.”

But Joyce says police didn’t involve her in the case until late 2012. She also questioned why Isom allowed Stockley to stay on the police force if he was so concerned, noting police initially deemed the shooting a “justifiable homicide.”

“There is a lot of evidence we have, including witness statements that were developed after (Isom) left the police department that he would have no knowledge of,” Joyce said. “He’s just speculating as to what we’re looking at.”

Joyce said that only Stockley’s DNA was found on a revolver recovered from the vehicle in which Smith was killed. Stockley previously said he fired in self-defense when Smith reached for the weapon.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said it was known Stockley unloaded it after the shooting, so his DNA would be on it. But Smith’s fiancée, Christina Wilson, told the newspaper she believes Stockley planted the gun.

“Anthony didn’t have a gun with him that day, and if he had a gun, it wouldn’t be that revolver,” she said. “That’s just not a gun that any young guy is going to carry.”

Stockley’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, said his client was surprised to be arrested because the incident happened long ago and was investigated. Stockley now lives in Houston.

Stockley’s father, Jerry Stockley Sr., said his son is the victim of changing attitudes about police.

“He didn’t do this,” Bruntrager said. “He is a police officer. He stopped a criminal who challenged the law and lost. . They cleared him last time, so why go back?”

___

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com


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