ASU Professor Killer Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

MAY 12, 2004 - Posted at 7:28 a.m. CDT

STUTTGART, AR - A teen convicted of killing an Arkansas State University professor will spend ten years in prison.

Kirk Otis was sentenced by Circuit Judge David Henry after jurors could not agree on a punishment yesterday.  Otis was convicted of manslaughter for killing Barney Smith.

Otis, now age 17, was 14 when Smith was shot to death and robbed on his mother's front porch.  Smith was a military science professor at ASU and a lieutenant colonel in the Arkansas National Guard.

Defense attorney Latrece Gray says the conviction will be appealed.

In addition to prison time, Henry ordered Otis to pay a $10,000 fine.

The jury, which began deliberating a sentence yesterday morning, told the judge in the afternoon that they could not agree.  He sent them back to the jury room, and they emerged an hour later to report they would not reach unanimous agreement.

Henry then dismissed the jury and imposed sentence himself.

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