Fact Sheet/TimeLine

Information Courtesy Amnesty International


Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death as an accomplice in the 1991 murder in St. Louis of two young white women, Julie and Robin Kerry, who plunged from the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. Two other black youths were also convicted, including Marlin Gray (executed in 2005). Clemons has consistently maintained his innocence. His case illustrates many of the flaws in the U.S. death penalty system.

No physical evidence ties Clemons to the crime or the events leading up to it. The prosecution conceded that he neither killed the victims nor planned the crime.

Two eyewitnesses were critical to the conviction. Thomas Cummins initially confessed to police that he murdered the victims, his cousins. After identifying Clemons and three other suspects, charges against him were dropped. On the day Clemons was sentenced to death, Cummins filed a police brutality lawsuit, resulting in a $150,000 settlement. Daniel Winfrey pled guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for testimony against Clemons and the other two.

Clemons alleges that he confessed under the pressure of police brutality to raping one of the victims. He never confessed to the murders. He subsequently retracted his confession.  Two other suspects independently alleged mistreatment by the police. Witnesses attest to Clemons’ face being swollen after his interrogation.

Four federal judges have agreed that the prosecutor’s conduct was “abusive and boorish.‖ In his closing statement, he compared Clemons to two convicted serial killers, even though Clemons had no criminal record. He was 19 years old when the crime occurred. This behavior was part of a pattern that earned the prosecutor repeated criticism by state and federal courts.

Clemons’ lawyer was later suspended from practicing law following numerous complaints.  His co-counsel had a full- time job in another state when she represented Clemons. Another lawyer hired by Clemons’ mother to assist in the case said that as the trial loomed, it was clear the two trial lawyers had not done the necessary preparation.

Race, particularly race of victim, biases the U.S. death penalty. Here, the murder victims were white, the three
convicted defendants were black, and the two crucial witnesses were white. Blacks were disproportionately
dismissed during jury selection, resulting in an unrepresentative jury given St. Louis’ sizeable black population.

In 2002, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Clemons’ death sentence should not stand because six prospective jurors had been improperly excluded at jury selection. A higher court overturned this ruling on technical grounds – saying that Clemons’ lawyer had not properly preserved the claim for federal judicial review.

Shortly after his 2009 execution date was stayed, the Missouri Supreme Court assigned a judge (a ―Special Master‖) to investigate the reliability of his conviction and proportionality of his sentence. Amnesty International urges the state of Missouri to recognize the serious concerns in Reggie Clemons‟ case and to commute his death sentence.


April 4-5 1991: Reggie Clemons, Antonio Richardson, Marlin Gray and Daniel Winfrey (all teenagers except for one) encountered sisters Julie and Robin Kerry and their cousin, Thomas Cummins, on the Chain of the Rocks Bridge.

April 4-5, 1991: Julie and Robin Kerry plunged from the bridge into the Mississippi River and drowned.

April 5, 1991: Cummins contacted the police and claimed a group of youths pushed the Kerry sisters off the bridge into the river, and ordered him to jump off the bridge. After further interrogation, Cummins implicated himself. Police charged Cummins with the murder of his cousins.

April 5, 1991: The police traced a flashlight found on the bridge to Antonio Richardson.

April 7, 1991: After initial denials, the police obtained a statement from Richardson in which he implicated himself, Winfrey, Gray and Clemons. Cummins was released from police custody.

April 7, 1991: Two police detectives picked up Clemons, without a warrant, at his home and took him to police headquarters for questioning.  Clemons made a statement that he raped the girls, but he denied pushing the girls off the bridge. Clemons was then formally arrested.

April 9, 1991: Clemons complained to police Internal Affairs Department that he had been subjected to police brutal- ity during his interrogation, and that his confession was coerced.

April 9, 1991: At Clemons’s arraignment, Judge Michael David sent Clemons to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with muscle inflammation and a swollen right cheek.

October 1992: Marlin Gray’s trial began. (The prosecutor tried the defendants separately. The white co-defendant, Daniel Winfrey, received a plea bargain.)

December 3, 1992: Marlin Gray was sentenced to death.

January 25, 1993: Clemons’s trial for murder began. Only 2 of the 12 jurors were African-American.

February 18, 1993: Clemons’s was convicted of first-degree murder. That same day, the trial judge sanctioned the prosecutor for improper behavior, but did not declare a mistrial.

April 2, 1993: Clemons was sentenced to death.

April 2, 1993: Cummins — the prosecution’s star witness— filed a lawsuit against the St. Louis Police Department for alleged police brutality in securing his confession to murder. Cummins later received a $150,000 out-of-court settlement from the St. Louis Police Department.

April 1993: Antonio Richardson’s trial began.

July 2, 1993: Richardson was sentenced to death.

1995 Simpson Thacher Barlett law firm Appeal Attorney’s enter appearance as Pro Bono

April 26, 1996: Clemon’s new lawyers filed a motion with the Missouri Supreme Court that detailed serious flaws with Clemons’s trial, including lack of physical evidence, prosecutorial misconduct, unconstitutional jury selection process, ineffective assistance of counsel, and police brutality.

May 27, 1997: The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed Clemons’s conviction and sentence.

June 3, 1998: A petition was filed in federal court on Clemons’s behalf.

August 1, 2002: Reggie’s death sentence was held to be unconstitutional by United States District Court Judge Catherine D. Perry due to improper jury selection.

October 28, 2004: Richardson’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison

September 9, 2004: The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overturned Judge Perry’s decision based on a technicality, thereby reinstating Clemons’s death sentence.

October 2005: The United States Supreme Court declined to review Reggie’s case.

Summer 2007: Daniel Winfrey, the only white co-defendant in Reggie’s case, was paroled.

May 18, 2009:  Reggie Clemons execution date was scheduled for June 17, 2009. It was  stayed two weeks later by the Missouri Supreme Court, who assigned a Special Master (a judge) to examine the case, to investigate the reli-ability of the conviction and the proportionality of the death sentence.

March, 2012: Reggie Clemons has a critical hearing in front of the Special Master.

***Unanswered Questions:

#1 Chain of Rocks Bridge where crime happened is in MADISON, ILLINOIS.

#2 All suspects charged in crime were residents of STL County, why STL City take that case outside their JURISDICTION?

#3 The Mississippi River is where victims fell to their death, but they were still talking to their cousin Thomas Cummins in the water so where did the death occur on the bridge or in the Mississippi River? Isn’t that FEDERAL WATERS NOT STATE?

#4 If the Mississippi River is FEDERAL WATERS then why did the state of Missouri  take the case? Also, if the victims were found talking to their cousin Thomas Cummins in the water, while he said he tried to save them both, per his testimony in court where did death occur on the bridge or in the Mississippi River?
#5 One victim body was found in Caruthersville, MO several weeks after the crime on the Chain of Rock Bridge in April 1991. How did the body get down to Caruthersville, MO when the current of the Mississippi River latitude goes in the opposite direction from where the victims body was suppose to have been in the Mississippi River at the Chain of Rocks Bridge off Riverview exit and 270 North?

#6 The prosecutor Nels C. Moss says on the record Reginald Clemons didn’t kill anyone, but his false confession of rape is what links him as an accomplice liability, but there was never any evidence to show jury he raped the two victims on the bridge. Now 20yrs later prosecutor get deposed by Attorney General and prosecutor says “It was told to me a rape kit was found at STLPD.”

#7 Prosecutor Nels C. Moss vs. STLPD and Chief of Police Isom rebuttals in a press conference March 2010, “the rape kit have been here since 1993.”

#8 Prosecutor Nels C. Moss was over Chain of Property at STLPD and running for Circuit Atty during the time he falsely convicted Reggie Clemons in 1993.

#9 Prosecutor Nels C. Moss help to assist Thomas Cummins, the Plaintiff (cousin to victims who died and former suspect in case but released) sister Jeanine Cummins authored her book about Reggie Clemons with slandering and libel remarks.

#10 The Chain of Rocks Bridge taxes are paid to STATE OF ILLINOIS and the bridge is located with a sign that says WELCOME TO MADISON, ILLINOIS, so who determined that Reggie Clemons case should be tried in STL CITY MISSOURI? PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW REGGIE CLEMONS RESIDES IN STL COUNTY.

Case Inquiries:

1. Were the charges pending when they held the trail?

**The dismiss charges were never discussed during his trial. Therefore, Reggie had to file a 180 Speedy Trial Motion and a Petition of Haebus Corpus, but State refuses to acknowledge his Motion filing. The courts will not adhere to him challenging the dismiss charges from the state.

2. What was the reasoning behind the State not electing to proceed with the charges?

**Reggie does not know what grounds were used for that interpretation to the courts. Reggie had already been sentenced in April 1993 when the dismissed charges were filed on 7/21/93 by AG and Circuit Attorney. The dismissed charges came 90 days after Reggie was sentenced.

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