Judge Says Stuttgart Teen Cannot Be Executed in 2001 Killing of ASU Professor

APRIL 20, 2004 - Posted at 7:44 a.m. CDT

STUTTGART, AR - A judge in Stuttgart has ruled out the death penalty in a capital murder case against a teenager who was 14 at the time he allegedly killed an Arkansas State University professor.

Kirk Otis, now 17 years old, is accused in the death of Barney Smith, who was killed at his mother's home on July 20, 2001.  The 49-year-old Smith taught military science at ASU and was a lieutenant Colonel in the Arkansas National Guard.

Jury selection in the case is to begin April 26.  If convicted of capital murder, Otis would face life in prison without parole.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)