Former Montgomery police officer who killed Black man is released after plea deal

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The state has released a former Montgomery Police Department officer who in 2016 shot and killed resident Greg Gunn from prison.

Attorney General Steve Marshall reached a plea deal with Aaron Cody Smith, who was convicted of manslaughter in the case. Smith changed his plea to guilty and will leave prison on time served, according to Marshall's statement.

William Boyd, a community activist and friend of the Gunn family, said that justice has not been served.

"The state, they undid justice today," Boyd said. "... It's another sad day that Black lives don't matter."

White jurors in a white county found Smith guilty, but Boyd said that when Marshall took the case out of the hands of District Attorney Daryl Bailey he knew that it was a political ploy.

Montgomery police officer A.C. Smith is escorted from the courtroom after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in the death 2016 shooting death of Greg Gunn.
Montgomery police officer A.C. Smith is escorted from the courtroom after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in the death 2016 shooting death of Greg Gunn.

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“I am happy that this convicted killer finally confessed to intentionally killing Greg Gunn," Bailey said in a statement. "If he had done that in 2016 it would have saved a lot of time and money. I am very disappointed that he is being released early, which is a privilege not afforded to most convicted killers."

Marshall first took the case in 2020, according to his statement.

"Despite my personal misgivings about the strength of the case against Mr. Smith, my office successfully defended the conviction in accordance with our statutory duty," Marshall said in his statement.

The case then went on to the Alabama Supreme Court and back again to the trial court last year.

"I firmly believe that Mr. Smith was due a new trial, but after eight years of watching this protracted litigation, I exerted my authority to bring this case to a close," Marshall said in the statement. "Mr. Smith has pleaded guilty to the offense for which he was convicted, in exchange for returning to his family. I believe that this is a fair and appropriate outcome."

Greg Gunn's family said he was the "glue" and caretaker in their large family, often acting as the father figure to his siblings well into their own adulthoods.
Greg Gunn's family said he was the "glue" and caretaker in their large family, often acting as the father figure to his siblings well into their own adulthoods.

Alex Gladden is the Montgomery Advertiser's public safety reporter. She can be reached at agladden@gannett.com or on Twitter @gladlyalex.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Ex-police officer convicted of killing Greg Gunn walks free