ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – It was one of the most talked-about murder cases in St. Louis history. Now a hearing is underway in court in downtown St. Louis that could ultimately decide the fate of Reggie Clemons.
Clemons is one four people who were convicted of raping and murdering the Kerry sisters more than 20 years ago.
The evidentiary hearing is taking place inside the Carnahan Courthouse.
Clemons initially confessed in this case. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1993. But questions have been raised about his involvement in the crime, and that has kept his case in the courts for years.
The now 41-year-old Clemons has said for years he is innocent and St. Louis police beat his original confession out of him.
Robin and Julie Kerry, 19 and 20 years old at the time, were raped and pushed to their deaths from the Chain of Rocks bridge back in 1991. Their cousin, Thomas Cummins, was also with them. He was forced to jump too, but survived.
Clemons and three others were convicted. One of those men was executed, another is serving a life sentence and the other was released on parole.
Clemons case has been in the courts for years. His death sentence was thrown out then reinstated. It was last halted back in 2009.
He currently sits on death row.
Monday morning, Clemons’ attorney told a special judge Clemons did not receive a fair trial because, among other things, all of the evidence was not produced.
Clemons’ attorney, Josh Levine, wants his death sentence thrown out and a new trial granted.
But the prosecution says Clemons blocked the only path for the Kerry sisters to escape on that fateful night and he is just as responsible as the others for what happened.
Clemons trial attorney testified her defense team got evidence late as they prepared for trial or that they didn’t get all of it from prosecutors, including a rape kit that determined that one of the victims had not been sexually assaulted.
Prosecutor Nels Moss took the stand and was questioned about an initial police report that contained his handwriting next to paragraphs with the word omit.
He said the defense team got a complete and final police report. However there were omissions between the initial one and the final one. The defense may have used those omissions in their fight to save Clemons.
As for the lab report from the rape kit, Moss testified he didn’t know it existed.
Clemons’ attorneys also questioned Moss about being cited over the years for courtroom misconduct.
The hearing is expected to last all week.
Clemons is expected to testify.
Friends and family members of the Kerry and Clemons family were in the courtroom watching the hearing. Ginny Kerry, the victim’s mother said, “It’s just like ripping my daughters out of my arms again after 21 years there’s just no end to it no end to it.”
Bishop Reynolds Thomas, Clemons’ father said, “I lost a daughter the next year in an auto accident 22 years old so I know the hurt and trauma they feel with the loss of their children but I know Reginald had nothing to do with it.”
We may learn Tuesday if Reginald Clemons will take the stand. The hearing could last the entire week. The judge will submit a report to the state supreme court and then it could be months before a decision on Clemons’ fate is known.