JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri state officials are preparing for legal action against St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in the case she does not resign within the next hour.
Gardner is at risk of possibly being removed from office after a tragic situation last weekend involving an out-of-town teenage girl.
Janae Edmondson, 17, was visiting St. Louis with her family in order to participate in a volleyball tournament. The family was walking in downtown St. Louis around 8:40 p.m. last Saturday when a speeding driver failed to yield and collided with another vehicle. That second vehicle struck Edmondson, who has had both of her legs amputated since the crash.
The man accused in the crash, 21-year-old Daniel Riley, was out on bond from a 2020 armed robbery case. Last August, he was given a personal recognizance bond that required him to be tracked by GPS and stay at home. Court records show he violated house arrest dozens of times leading up to the crash.
Two Missouri state officials, Gov. Mike Parson and Attorney General, criticized Gardner again Thursday. They claim the latest incident is part of a pattern in St. Louis.
“There’s plenty of evidence right now that she is not doing what she needs to be doing as prosecutor of St. Louis City,” said Gov. Parson. “I believe that’s not just my opinion. When you look at a record that’s been consistent with violent crime in the area, this is nothing new. It’s just a matter that’s probably brought it up to the top.”
Bailey issued an ultimatum Wednesday for Gardner to resign by noon Thursday of face removal due to the recent incident.
“This is about the rule of law, and about justice for me,” said Bailey. “There are a number of issues that we see coming from the city of St. Louis and the Circuit Attorney’s Office that all establish neglect in office. It is time for her to resign, and for the rule of law to justice and prevail.”
Bailey says state officials are planning to move forward with legal action in the case Gardner does not reign by noon. In that scenario, his office would present evidence over Riley’s criminal case and proceedings. The courts would control the timeline for any decision on Gardner’s future from there.
“The people of St. Louis, the people of Eastern Missouri and across the state deserve clarity, and they deserve justice in our criminal justice system,” said Bailey. “We will move as swiftly as the process allows us to reach the right result, which is the circuit attorney is no longer in office in the coming days, weeks and months.”
Parson adds that situations like this might affect how people view St. Louis and Misosuri
“St. Louis is such a great city. It has so many positive things going on, but you highlight it by the crime,” said Parson. “People want to feel safe when they walk down the street. They want their kids to be able to go out and be safe. You go to take bad people off the streets. We got to quit doing what we’re doing right now because it’s not working, and this is the perfect example of why.”
In that the courts would order to remove Gardner from her office, Parson would be responsible for appointing a new St. Louis Circuit Attorney.
“We’re going to do the right thing for the people of Missouri,” said Parson. “I’ll work with [the Missouri AG] hand-in-hand to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the people of the state.”
The incident adds to many waves of criticism and challenges facing Gardner’s office. She was previously disciplined last year amid allegations of concealing evidence in a high-profile case. Former Attorney General Eric Schmitt also accused her of concealing evidence in efforts to vacate the conviction of Lamar Johnson.
Gardner’s office, in a statement Wednesday, alleges that prosecutors asked for higher bonds for Riley several times prior to the crash, though judges denied such requests. She adds the most recent effort to address Riley’s bond conditions came in January 2023, though says “there was no response” upon asking the court for a hearing date over Riley’s bond.