116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A Grundy Center man who was convicted of killing Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith last year during a standoff is asking the court for new trial, arguing there is lack of evidence to prove first-degree murder and the other two charges.
Michael Thomas Lang, 42, was convicted by a Hamilton County jury last month of first-degree murder, attempted murder of a peace officer and assault of a person in certain occupations. In his motion for new trial he argues the judge failed to instruct the jury on his self-defense argument and the verdict was contrary to the weight of the evidence.
Lang, in the motion, said there wasn’t “evidence beyond a reasonable doubt” to prove any of the charges.
A judge set a hearing for June 27 to address the new trial motion, the same day he is scheduled to be sentenced on the conviction.
According to trial testimony, Lang led a city police officer on a 90-mph chase during an attempted traffic stop for speeding April 9, 2021. Lang then fought the officer, choking him before a passerby and sheriff’s deputy interrupted the assault.
Lang fled from authorities to his home and refused to come to the door when officers arrived. He shot Smith, 51, of Independence, with a shotgun as officers entered the house and tried to subdue him. He shot Smith once in the chest and fired a second round after Smith collapsed on the floor, striking his leg, according to testimony.
Lang then fired the gun into the windshield of an armored vehicle when SWAT team officers approached the house.
Lang also was injured in a subsequent shootout.
During his trial, the defense didn’t dispute the incident, but argued Lang’s actions didn’t meet the elements of first-degree murder. Lang simply reacted and didn’t have time to consider what was happening, the defense argued.
Lang didn’t testify and his lawyer didn’t call any witnesses during the trial.
He faces life in prison without parole for the first-degree murder conviction.
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