Death sentence upheld in AR police shooting

Jerry Lard (Source: Arkansas Dept. of Correction)
Jerry Lard (Source: Arkansas Dept. of Correction)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT/AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction for a man sentenced to death for fatally shooting a police officer during a traffic stop in northeast Arkansas.

The court on Thursday rejected a request for a new trial and upheld the death sentence for Jerry Lard, who was convicted in the 2011 shooting death of Trumann police officer Jonathan Schmidt.

Although the majority opinion upheld the conviction, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said a final chapter for the families of Schmidt and Lard is still possibly a long way off.

"There are built-in appeals, and that has taken place, but now then there will be other appeals, especially in death penalty cases. There are multiple appeals that are taken by the defendants," he said.

"Before an execution could even take place we're looking at a period of time that would be probably 10 to 15 years from now."

The court rejected several of Lard's arguments, including his objection to prosecutors showing jurors dash-cam videos of the shooting. Lard's defense attorneys admitted their client fatally shot Schmidt, but argued at trial that Lard suffered from a mental disease or defect.

In Thursday's ruling, the court said that Lard couldn't prevent the admission of the dash-cam video into evidence simply by conceding to the facts of the crime.

Click here to read the Arkansas Supreme Court decision.

Click here for previous coverage of the Jerry Lard trial.

Copyright 2013 KAIT.All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.