Attorney General Steve Marshall will assume the prosecution of Aaron Cody Smith, the former Montgomery Police officer convicted of manslaughter who is now seeking a Rule 32 hearing to potentially overturn the conviction.

Smith, a former officer with the Montgomery Police Department, was charged with murder after the on-the-job shooting of Greg Gunn.

The shooting occurred on February 25, 2016, and Smith was arrested nearly a week later.

Smith's trial ended in November 2019 with a jury finding him guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in January 2020.

Smith is currently incarcerated at the Limestone Correctional Facility.

In December 2022, the Alabama Supreme Court allowed Smith to file a "writ of certiorari," which asked the Court to review a previous decision from the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Court quashed Smith's writ, but several justices suggested that Smith's counsel and subsequent conviction may have been questionable.

In the special opinion, Justice Jay Mitchell wrote that it was "difficult to understand how a reasonable, properly instructed jury could have convicted Smith." 

Justice Tommy Bryan also entered a special opinion, claiming the omission of specific evidence was problematic in Smith's case and possibly raised a "serious question about the effectiveness of Smith's counsel."

SEE ALSO: Not a 'bully with a badge': Former Alabama cop charged with murder speaks out from behind bars

Smith is now scheduled before the Court for an evidentiary hearing in March, seeking relief under Alabama's Rule 32. Rule 32 allows convicted people to challenge their convictions. The Court can overturn a conviction or set another trial if it finds merit in the Rule 32 petition.

In a typical Rule 32 hearing, the prosecutor who initially handled the case would prosecute. However, on Monday, Marshall informed Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey that his office would handle the prosecution going forward.

Bailey said he was “deeply disappointed” at the decision but ultimately respected Alabama law that gives the attorney general the authority to prosecute the case himself.

“I acknowledge that the Attorney General has the authority under Alabama law to remove me as the prosecutor and to assume the prosecution,” Bailey said. “General Marshall is exercising his authority under section 36-15-14 of the Code of Alabama, and I have no choice but to comply with the Attorney General’s directive.”

“Our office has, from day one, pursued justice in this case with great integrity and professional responsibility," he added. "Despite the many obstacles that were placed in our path, we have won at every phase and brought justice to the Gunn family.”

The Facebook page Justice For A.C. Smith, run by Smith’s wife, expressed delight that Bailey was off the case.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.