Montgomery County, Alabama – Below is a statement from Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey regarding Judge P.B. McLaughlin’s decision to approve former Montgomery Police Department Officer Aaron Cody Smith’s request for an appeal bond, which could allow him to be released from prison while he appeals his conviction for the intentional killing of Greg Gunn:
“From day one, our office has handled this case like any other case despite the obstacles that were placed in front of us. After every Circuit Court Judge but one recused in Montgomery County we were ready to try this case in Montgomery before Judge Greg Griffin. When he was ordered by the Alabama Supreme Court to recuse from the case we were assigned a Judge from Dale County that moved the trial to Dale County. We tried the Defendant in November of last year and quickly got a conviction for the intentional killing of Greg Gunn.
We proved during the course of the trial that the Defendant without legal cause chased Greg Gunn. He tased him multiple times and then proceeded to beat him with a metal baton about his body including his head. It was proven in trial that the Defendant, without being provoked, shot Mr. Gunn first in the back and then multiple times in other parts of his body.
The Probation Officer that investigated the facts of this case recommended that the Defendant be sentenced to the maximum sentence of 20 years. My Office agreed with that recommendation and argued strenuously in court that the Judge sentence him to the maximum. Despite our arguments, the Court sentenced the Defendant to 14 years.
We were summoned to Court again this week to argue whether or not the Judge should allow the Defendant out on bail pending his appeal. 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 that have trusted the criminal justice system to do the right thing.
I do not recall any cases in my 25 year history with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office where a Defendant convicted of a violent offense was allowed an appeal bond. I along with the Gunn family disagree with the Court’s ruling even though we respect his authority and his decision. All we have asked throughout this process is that this Defendant be treated like every other defendant charged and ultimately convicted of a violent offense.
We will ask the Court of Criminal Appeals for an expedited ruling in this case so that justice will finally prevail.
I have spoken with the Gunn family and while they are disappointed and frustrated they are still optimistic that the appeals process will end in our favor and that the Defendant if released on bail will ultimately be brought back to the Alabama Department of Corrections to serve his sentence.”
Anna Goodwin-Langford, Administrative Assistant to DA Daryl D. Bailey
Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office
100 South Lawrence Street
Montgomery, Alabama 36104