Prosecution Rests in Murder Trial of Accused Killer of ASU Professor

MAY 5, 2004 - Posted at 7:11 a.m. CDT

STUTTGART, AR - Defense attorneys for a Stuttgart teenager accused of killing an Arkansas State University professor can begin presenting their case.

Prosecutors rested yesterday after playing a tape in which 17-year-old Otis Kirk admitted he shot and killed Barney Smith.

In another taped statement, Otis Kirk said he was not the person who shot Arkansas State University professor Barney Smith.  Kirk was 14-years-old at the time.

Prosecuting Attorney Robert Dittrich played both tapes.  In an Arkansas State Police interview, Kirk said he shot Smith, gave the gun to an acquaintance and went home.

Smith was sitting on the front porch of his mother's home in July, 2001, when he was robbed and shot.

Circuit Judge David Henry has barred prosecutors from seeking the death penalty because of Kirk's age at the time.  Smith was a military science professor and a lieutenant colonel in the Arkansas National Guard.

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