Judge may not render verdict in Stockley murder trial for weeks

ST. LOUIS - The murder case involving former St. Louis Police Officer Jason Stockley is now in the hands of a judge, who said Wednesday he will not render a decision before August 18.
The downtown St. Louis trial wrapped up Wednesday with closing arguments.  Prosecutor Robert Steele said Jason Stockley was “guilty, guilty, guilty” of first-degree murder.
Steele repeated it several times during closing, while also repeatedly going back to a moment on the dash cam from that December 2011 day.
Stockley admitted he said something like “kill that (expletive)” but he didn’t remember it or remember why he said it.  Steele said Stockley did just what he said he was going to do, 45 seconds later.
The prosecutor also argued it's clear the former officer planted a gun in the suspect’s vehicle, because only Stockley’s DNA is on it. He said the defendant’s explanation that he was rummaging through his duty bag for “quick clot” is a lie because we never see “quick clot” on the video.
Defense attorney Neil Bruntrager pounced on this in his closing, saying the absence of evidence is not evidence.  He said the prosecutor cannot have it both ways, because we also never see Stockley with the gun prosecutors allege he planted.
The defense pointed to the dash cam video as proof Stockley’s life was in danger.  Bruntrager said he was justified to use lethal force before the chase when the suspect’s car was a deadly weapon.  He argued Stockley was also justified at the end of the pursuit when it took 15 seconds for him the fire and he fired after being startled and stepping back.
The prosecutor ended by acknowledging the family of Anthony Lamar Smith, who Stockley shot to death.  He asked the judge to find justice for Smith’s mom, saying “…they say justice is blind -- he murdered this woman’s son.”
The judge said each side can submit up to 10 pages in pleadings on why they think their side should prevail.  He said he will not make a decision before then.  ​