DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — The former New Milford police officer convicted of negligent homicide after a 1998 on-duty shooting has been found dead inside his home in Danbury.
Scott Smith was found in his bed Tuesday morning by firefighters who broke into the home after friends reported they could not contact him, The News Times of Danbury reported. He was 41.
The cause of his death was being investigated Wednesday. Lt. Larry Ash, spokesman for the New Milford Police Department, confirmed the death.
"We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Scott Smith," Ash said.
Smith was charged with murder after shooting 19-year-old Franklyn Reid to death on Dec. 27, 1998, during a foot chase. Reid was wanted by police for probation violations and failing to appear in court.
Reid was lying on his stomach with his hands behind his back when Smith put a foot on Reid's back and shot him in the back, a witness testified. Shoe print residue was found on the back of Reid's shirt, a prosecution expert testified.
Smith testified that Reid was on his knees and possibly reaching for a weapon when he fired. Reid did not have a gun, but a folding knife was found in the pocket of his jacket.
Smith was originally convicted of manslaughter by a Litchfield Superior Court jury in 2000, but won a new trial on appeal. In 2004, just before that trial was to begin, Smith pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of criminally negligent homicide.
He received a suspended one-year prison sentence and two years of probation. As part of the plea deal, he promised never to work again as a police officer or to own a gun.
Smith later applied for firefighting jobs in New Haven and Danbury but wasn't hired.