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Iowa man sentenced to life in prison for murdering Sgt. Jim Smith

Michael Lang was convicted of first-degree murder in May for the 2021 shooting death of Sgt. Jim Smith.

GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa — Michael Lang, who shot and killed an Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith in April of 2021, will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Lang was convicted of first-degree murder in May for the shooting death of Smith. He was also convicted of attempted murder and assaulting a police officer from the same incident.

The sentencing followed several of Smith's family members giving victim impact statements in court as they called on the state to sentence Lang to life in prison without parole. 

"I'm here today because of a deliberate, evil choice that was made to shoot my father," said Zander Smith, Sgt. Smith's son. "Michael Lang assaulted an innocent officer, attempted to kill another and brutally slaughtered my dad in cold blood."

Before the sentencing, Lang requested a new trial, arguing there was not enough evidence to prove he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt and that the jury was not informed on what constitutes self-defense. 

The court denied the new trial. Judge Joel Dalrymple also ordered Lang to pay $150,000 in restitution to Smith's estate.

Smith, a 27-year patrol veteran, was shot as he led a team of officers into Lang’s home in Grundy Center. Lang had barricaded himself inside the home after he assaulted another officer during a traffic stop that day, police said. Lang was also shot by officers but recovered.

Smith was the 11th trooper to die in the line of duty in the Iowa State Patrol’s history. Since then, a 12th trooper has died in the line of duty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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