LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the murder conviction of a man sentenced to death for fatally shooting a police officer during a traffic stop in northeast Arkansas.
The court denied 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. The court rejected several of Lard's arguments, including his objection to prosecutors showing jurors dash-cam video footage of the shooting.
"Because the incident unfolded so quickly, showing the events as they transpired from different perspectives and at slowed speeds allowed the actions of all involved to be clarified and be placed in context," the court's opinion said. "Although Lard did not deny committing the offenses, this court has repeatedly held that a defendant cannot prevent the admission of evidence simply by conceding to the facts of the crime."
The video was released to the public after Lard's trial in 2012. It shows Lard sitting in the back of a vehicle that Schmidt pulled over in April 2011 because a license plate check showed it might not have insurance. About a minute later, as Schmidt opened the back passenger door, a hand can be seen reaching out and firing at the officer's face.
Lard bolts from the car and continues firing at Schmidt and another officer who was at the scene.