Stuttgart Teen Accused in '01 Death of ASU Professor Denied Request to be Tried as Juvenile

January 23, 2004 - Posted at 7:58 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A teenager's request that he be tried as a juvenile in the death of an Arkansas State University professor is being turned down.

The state Supreme Court says he has not shown that a law allowing juveniles to receive adult sentences for capital crimes is unconstitutional.  The court ruled yesterday.

Kirk Otis, now 17, was 14 years old when Lieutenant Colonel Barney Smith was robbed and shot to death while sitting on the front porch of his mother's home in Stuttgart.  The 49-year-old Smith was a military science professor at ASU and an officer of the Arkansas National Guard.

The court agreed that a circuit judge in the case had ruled correctly in declining to transfer the case to the juvenile system, but the justices also issued a stern reminder that appeals in cases involving juveniles should be brought as soon as possible.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)