New lawyer appointed in Jerry Lard appeal case

New lawyer appointed in Jerry Lard appeal case

HARRISBURG, AR (KAIT) - A man convicted in the murder of a Trumann police officer made a brief appearance in a Harrisburg courtroom Tuesday for a Rule 37.5 hearing, which is a special hearing for individuals sentenced to death in Arkansas.

According to the 2nd Judicial District Prosecutor's Office, Poinsett County Circuit Judge Brent Davis appointed Jerry Lard, 40, of Trumann a new lawyer in the appeal process. Lard will now be represented by Patrick Benca of Little Rock.

A Greene County jury convicted Lard in August, 2012 of capital murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Lard shot and killed Trumann Police Officer Jonathan Schmidt after a traffic stop.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied Lard's appeal Oct. 6, 2014. The Rule 37.5 hearing "directs the judge in death penalty cases to hold such a hearing within a specific period of time."

The prosecutor's office also said Sheriff Larry Mills drove to Pine Bluff at 2 a.m. Tuesday ahead of the 9:30 a.m. hearing.

Click here for more information on a Rule 37.5 Hearing.

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