Ala. officer sentenced to 14 years in fatal 2016 OIS
Aaron Cody Smith was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Gregory Gunn
DALE COUNTY, Ala. — Former Montgomery police officer Aaron Cody Smith was sentenced on Wednesday to 14 years in an Alabama prison.
Smith faced murder charges in the shooting death of Gregory Gunn, who Smith chased, tased and beat in a west Montgomery neighborhood in the early hours of Feb. 25, 2016, before he was fatally shot.
A Dale County jury in November ultimately found Smith guilty of manslaughter, a lesser charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.
Jurors deliberated for just a few hours after Smith's four-day trial.
At trial, Smith's defense argued the cop feared for his life as a solo, young officer in a "high-crime" area, and that Gunn armed himself with a paint pole from a neighbor's porch, leading Smith to shoot him seven times.
Prosecutors argued Smith, with no legal justification, escalated a consensual stop with Gunn to deadly force, shooting and killing the 58-year-old just feet away from the home he lived in with his mother.
Hours after the verdict, 26-year-old Smith resigned from the Montgomery Police Department, where he remained on administrative leave during his case's winding and fitful road to trial.
Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey said in November he “disagreed” with the city’s decision to keep him on paid staff for the nearly four years he was accused of murder.