Board Denies Parole for Teenage Killer of ASU Professor

OCTOBER 6, 2004 - Posted at 9:05 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A teenager who sought his release from prison for the slaying of an Arkansas State University professor was denied freedom by the state parole board.

Kirk Otis, now 18, was 14 years old when he was arrested for the shooting death in Stuttgart of Lieutenant Colonel Barney Smith, who taught at the Jonesboro campus.  Smith was shot at his mother's home in 2001.

Otis was convicted of manslaughter, having been originally charged with capital murder.

A judge sentenced Otis to the maximum of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Otis spent three years in juvenile custody while awaiting trial.  With credit for that time, Otis became eligible for parole once he served one-third of the ten years.  The state Post Prison Transfer Board on Tuesday released its vote...4-to-1 in favor of keeping Otis in prison.

Board members cited the seriousness of the crime for keeping Otis in jail.

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