Former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was acquitted of first-degree murder on Friday over the fatal 2011 shooting of a black man -- despite the fact that an audio recording of Stockley revealed that he had vowed to kill him.
As reported by KMOV reporter Coutney Bryant, Judge Timothy Wilson ruled on Friday that Stockley's declaration that "we're going to kill this motherf*cker" shortly before the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith was an "ambiguous" statement that did not show a definitive desire to kill.
Stockley originally said he wanted to kill Smith -- whom police had pursued on suspicion of him taking part in a drug deal -- in the wake of a car chase that lasted for around three miles before he and his fellow officers caught up to Smith.
"It is apparent from the dash cam audio and video that the pursuit was stressful," ruled Wilson. "People say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations."
He then added that Stockley saying that he was going to "kill this motherf*cker" was an "ambiguous" statement, "depending on the circumstance."
Stockley maintained that the shooting of Smith was entirely in self defense because he believed Smith was about to fire a gun at him -- despite the fact that forensics analysts could only find Stockley's DNA on the weapon that was supposedly owned by Smith.
During the shooting, Stockley was also in possession of a department-issued AK-47 -- which he was not authorized to use. Despite this, Wilson ruled that his illegal use of the weapon was not relevant to whether he had committed first-degree murder.