Philly's Prosecutor Wants Convicted Cop Killer Released

District Attorney Larry Krasner said the murder occurred "some 20 years ago" and that Aaron Smith should be paroled.

Philadelphia, PA The Philadelphia District Attorney has recommended that a man involved in the murder of a retired police officer be re-sentenced and immediately released on parole.

Aaron Smith was 17 years old in December of 1998, when he and a group of armed men stormed into a Philadelphia bar where retired Philadelphia Police Officer Frank King was socializing with friends, WPVI reported.

Although he was unarmed, Officer King attempted to thwart the robbery-in-progress, and was fatally shot during the effort, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.

Smith was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life without parole, but a later Supreme Court ruling declared life sentences for juveniles to be unconstitutional even in cases of murder.

"Twenty years ago, I sat in a morgue at Einstein Hospital having to identify my father's dead body, and I feel more helpless now than I did back then," Officer Kings son, Ace King, told WPVI.

The news of Smiths resentencing struck Officer Kings family even harder when they learned that District Attorney Larry Krasner had the option of recommending a sentence but was choosing to recommend immediate parole.

"Do you champion for our side? King recalled having asked Krasner. And do you go for 30 years minimum, to life. 30 years minimum. He said he cannot do that."

In a statement, Krasner said he met with King at Kings request to discuss Smiths resentencing, and that he appreciated Kings interest, questions and input, WPVI reported.

Krasner said that Smith was the only defendant involved in Officer Kings murder who was a juvenile at the time, and that the other defendants will continue to serve their life sentences in prison.

The defendant who is being re-sentenced did not fire, provide, or handle the gun used, Krasner said in the statement which sounds like he's speaking as the convicted killer's defense attorney, according to WPVI. He did not struggle with Officer King. He did not mastermind the robbery, lead it, or transport the other participants.

In the statement, Krasner twice pointed out that Officer Kings murder occurred some 20 years ago, and noted that juvenile offenders are less capable of consequential thinking and more capable of rehabilitation due to their immature brains.

Krasner also argued that a recommendation for immediate parole was appropriate due to the very low level of recidivism for juvenile lifers who have been re-sentenced and are no longer in custody in Pennsylvania.

Although Krasners sentencing recommendation will be heard by the court, Officer Kings family will also have the opportunity to speak during the hearing.

Ultimately, the sentence will be left to the discretion of the judge.

We're hoping that, in fact, they do keep him another decade or so behind bars because this was brutal," Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 President John McNesby told WPVI. "There was no reason to take a life that night. None whatsoever."

Smiths re-sentencing is scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

We're going to definitely be there on Tuesday. Absolutely," King vowed. "My children and his grandchildren that he never got to meet will be there, too."

Comments (11)
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MariaHasLEOSon
MariaHasLEOSon

Didn't he commit felony murder? Isn't the Retired Police Officer still dead? #NoPardon

Justgail68
Justgail68

There is a good reason for this judge to consider the facts in this case. The minor sounds like he was along with his friends. Often things sound exciting and what every one is doing but when reality sets in you realize you have gotten into something that is just wrong. I am hoping that the judge considered all information on this young man while he was in prison. It is scary and everyone takes a risk by now letting this young man free to learn how to live a normal life and that is the best key to the situation - are there supports in place for him to learn how to live in a lawful society after 20 years in prison? Is the system throwing him back out into the life that got him there in the first place? This is scary and if this young man commits another crime I would be the first to say I was wrong and heavens forbid he murders someone. It just doesnt sound like he is a cold hearted murderer.

stooge819
stooge819

17 is old enough to understand consequences. The least they could do is hold him until he loses the desire to procreate.

unclebubby
unclebubby

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time... .let him got in jail