Judge grants bond to ex-cop appealing his manslaughter conviction

Published 12:56 pm Saturday, March 7, 2020

A former Alabama police officer convicted of manslaughter in the shooting of an unarmed man can be can be released on bond while he appeals his conviction, a judge ruled Friday.

Retired Dale County Circuit Judge P.B. McLaughlin granted former Montgomery officer Aaron Cody Smith a $300,000 bond. He will also have to wear an electronic ankle monitor.

Smith was convicted of manslaughter for the 2016 shooting death of Gregory Gunn, 58, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Smith shot and killed Gunn after he fled from a stop-and-frisk. Gunn was walking home when he was stopped by Smith and died not far from his house.

The defense maintained that Smith fired in self-defense because Gunn was grabbing a painter’s pole from a porch, but prosecutors said Gunn was never a threat.

Prosecutors opposed the bond.

“Our argument was that the defendant had already began his sentence in the Alabama Department of Corrections and to allow him bail at this point would be a slap in the face to the Gunn family and to the citizens of Montgomery County,” Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey told WSFA-TV.

Defense lawyers have argued the Smith’s status as a former officer would subject him to heightened safety concerns in Alabama prisons which have come under fire for excessive violence.

The defense has asked for a reduced sentence.