New Evidence In Missouri Death Penalty Case

Chain of Rocks Bridge

The brutal slaying of two young women in 1991 continues to rock the Gateway City as new evidence emerges amid claims of prosecutorial misconduct.

Julie Kerry

A crucial development occurred in the case of convicted murderer Reginald “Reggie” Clemons when the Missouri Attorney General’s office announced the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has found undisclosed evidence in the case. The evidence, which was not presented at trial, consists of lab reports and a “rape kit.” Clemons was convicted of the 1991 slaying of Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

Robin Kerry

Clemons and three other men were convicted of the assault and murder of 19-year-old Robin and 20-year-old Julie. The sisters and their cousin, 19-year-old Thomas Cummins, were viewing a poem the young women wrote on the bridge when they were attacked. They were assaulted then forced off the bridge into the Mississippi River; the Kerry sisters were killed, Cummins survived.

In addition to the new evidence, Amnesty International has pledged its involvement to help Clemons win a new trial or at least have his death sentence commuted. The human rights group alleges police brutality, racial profiling, and jury misconduct, calling the Clemons’ trial unjust. The St. Louis chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also claims prosecutorial misconduct. Circuit attorney general Nels Moss, who prosecuted Clemons, has been under fire for his alleged mishandling of the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review an 8th Circuit appellate court decision not to block of execution of Clemons. Of three men convicted with Clemons, Marlin Gray was executed in 2005, Antonio Richardson is serving life without parole (his original death sentence was reversed in 2003), and Daniel Winfrey was paroled in 2007.

For a definitive account of the case, read A Rip In Heaven by Jeanine Cummins.

Nancy Kerrigan’s Life Touched By Tragedy Once Again

American ice skating icon Nancy Kerrigan.
American ice skating icon Nancy Kerrigan

American ice skating legend Nancy Kerrigan’s father has been murdered by her own brother, according to Nancy’s brother Mark, 45, was arrested Sunday and is accused of assault and battery against their father, 70-year old Daniel Kerrigan, according to Massachusetts authorities.

Apparently there was a violent argument and struggle between the father and son, resulting in the elder Kerrigan falling or collapsing on the kitchen floor. Nancy’s mother Brenda then called 911 to assist her husband.

Authorities are still investigating the the circumstances of the incident along with the cause and manner of death. The county medical examiner is expected to release a report within a manner of weeks.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Mark Kerrigan in the basement of the house, “clearly intoxicated” and “extremely combative.” He refused to comply with police officers, had to be subdued with pepper spray before forcibly removing him from the home.

Mark Kerrigan pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. According to court documents, he was unemployed, was recently released from a correctional facility, and was living at home with his parents. He is taking medications and seeking psychological help for post-traumatic stress, apparently from a stint in the Army.

Nancy Kerrigan first gained prominence by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. In 1994 she earned an Olympic silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway.


Baby slapper busted.
Baby slapper busted.

Roger Stephens, 61, chose to endanger the welfare of a child, rather than defend it. While shopping at a Stone Mountain, GA, Wal-Mart, Stephens warned the mother of a crying toddler, “If you don’t shut that baby up I will shut her up for you.” The child continued to cry, and Stephens made good on his threat, slapping the two-year-old several times. He was arrested for felony cruelty to children and held without bond.

When it comes to the welfare of children, it is the responsibility of society to tirelessly defend their rights. If you see something hinky going on that involves a child, step up and do the right thing. Don’t worry about being PC. It’s in worrying about our own status that we fail our children.

Adding Fuel to the Flames

California wildfires caused by arson.
California wildfires caused by arson.

Investigators in California have confirmed that the cause of the massive wildfire in the Southern region of the state was caused by arson. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the fire has swept through more than 147,000 acres, burning for more than a week and destroying dozens of homes in the Los Angeles area. Twenty-one firefighters have suffered injuries battling the wildfires, and two firefighters suffered fatal injuries while trying to escape the flames.

A homicide investigation has been launched in the case of the fallen firefighters since the wildfire was determined to be caused by arson. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is heading up the investigation.

Digging for the Truth

Authorities have completed the search of Phillip & Nancy Garrido’s property, as well as that of their neighbor’s, where a bone fragment was found. Police do not at this time know the origins of the fragment, and are having it tested to see if it is human or animal in nature.

The four-day search included the Garrido home and backyard, which contained a tent-and-shed compound that housed Jaycee Dugard during the 18 years she was allegedly held captive by the couple. The neighboring property was also searched, as Phillip Garrido may have served as caretaker at one time or another.

Recent reports mention the possibility of Phillip Garrido’s alleged connection to a number of child abductions in the Antioch, CA, area where he resides, which occurred in the late 1980s prior to Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapping. Local authorities are also looking into any ties between Garrido and a string of murders involving prostitutes. No evidence has been provided to confirm these allegations. At this time, Phillip & Nancy Garrido have pleaded not guilty to the charges made against them.

Authorities search the property of the couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in 1991.
Authorities search the property of the couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in 1991.

Locked Away

Jaycee Dugard’s life in captivity for the past 18 years was lived out in a combination of sheds and tarps set up in the backyard of the couple alleged to have abducted her, Phillip and Nancy Garrido of Antioch, CA. The backyard compound created to hide away Jaycee and her two young children was so overgrown that no one ever noticed anything amiss. No one, not even Phillip Garrido’s parole officer, bothered to check out the backyard’s contents. Had someone intervened, rather than ignoring the massive eyesore in the Garrido’s backyard, Jaycee’s ordeal possibly would have ended much sooner, and a serial kidnapper and rapist would finally be off the streets. Instead, she was locked away, while her alleged perpetrator was free to do as he pleased. Considering his rap sheet, that is a frightening thought.

Abducted at the age of 11, Jaycee Dugard was held captive for 18 years in a complex backyard compound.
Abducted at the age of 11, Jaycee Dugard was held captive for 18 years in a complex backyard compound.