Parole Already Being Considered for Stuttgart Teen Convicted for Slaying of ASU Professor

AUGUST 24, 2004 - Posted at 3:45 p.m. CDT

VARNER, AR - A lawyer for a teenager convicted of the death of an Arkansas State University professor says the youth should be given parole.

Attorney Latrece Gray says 17-year-old Kirk Otis has served enough time and behaved well during his incarceration.

Otis was 14 when he was arrested in the July 20, 2001 shooting death of 49-year-old Barney Smith at Smith's mother's home in Stuttgart.  Smith taught at ASU in Jonesboro and also was an Arkansas National Guard lieutenant colonel.

Though charged with capital murder, Otis was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year and sentenced by a judge to ten years in prison after the jury couldn't decide on a sentence.  The judge also gave Otis credit for almost three years he waited in a juvenile detention center to go on trial.

With his pre-trial detention counted as time served, Otis becomes eligible for parole September 2.

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