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St. Louis officer accused of murder leaves jail on bail

St. Louis officer accused of murder leaves jail on bail


ST. LOUIS • Former city police officer Jason Stockley walked out of the St. Louis Justice Center downtown and hugged his mother on Tuesday afternoon after his union posted 10 percent of his $1 million bail on a murder charge.

He slipped out a jail back door, avoiding most news people waiting outside, presumably headed for a relative’s home in Illinois where he has agreed to stay as a condition of bail.

The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association put up $100,000 to secure the bail, set Tuesday by the Judge Michael Mullen, who earlier had ordered him jailed until trial.

Stockley, 35, was arrested May 16 at his home in Houston on a first-degree murder charge filed in connection with an on-duty shooting 4½ years ago.

At issue is what Stockley has described as his self-defense killing of drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith, 24, on Dec. 20, 2011, after a high-speed chase ended in a crash at West Florissant and Acme avenues.

Federal prosecutors have said they conferred with Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office in 2012 and decided there was not enough evidence then to support a murder charge.

Joyce said unspecified new evidence led to the charge filed last month.

Anthony Lamar Smith

Anthony Lamar Smith holds his daughter in an undated family photo. Smith was fatally shot by St. Louis police after a car pursuit in December 2011.

Court documents say Stockley is heard, presumably on police dashboard camera recording during the pursuit, saying he was going to kill the suspect.

The video does not clearly show what Smith might have done to provoke Stockley to shoot. In the video, Stockley is seen returning to the police vehicle to obtain something from a duffel bag, then the camera goes off.

Stockley had said that he obtained a dressing for Smith’s wounds. Forensic testing revealed Stockley’s DNA — but not Smith’s — on the revolver the officer said he found in the car and unloaded. Defense lawyer Neil Bruntrager and some officials have said that does not necessarily mean Stockley planted the weapon there.

Police also reported finding heroin in the car.

In 2013, the city settled a wrongful-death suit on behalf of Smith’s then-1-year-old daughter for $900,000.

Stockley, who attended West Point, joined the police department after decorated Army combat service in Iraq. He quit the police force in August 2013.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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