ST. LOUIS – A man who sat on death row for more than two decades for crimes he insisted he didn’t commit has pleaded guilty to those crimes in exchange for life sentences.
According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Reginald Clemons will plead guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of rape, and one count of first-degree robbery in connection with the 1991 rape and killing of two sisters at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge.
Clemons had been looking at an upcoming retrial on January 8, 2018 after the Missouri Supreme Court overturned his original conviction. The court learned prosecutors in that case suppressed evidence during the trial and that Clemons had been beaten into a confession by St. Louis police.
With Clemons’ conviction lifted, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office was forced to refile the case.
Clemons was one of four men convicted in the deaths of Julie and Robin Kerry. He initially convicted of two counts of murder and sentenced to death in 1993.
With his admission of guilt, prosecutors will call for Clemons to be removed from death row and given five consecutive life sentences.
The Kerry sisters went to the bridge with their cousin when they were confronted by a group of men. Their cousin testified the men raped 20-year-old Julie and 19-year-old Robin before forcing them to jump into the Mississippi River. Only the cousin survived the ordeal.
Clemons long maintained his innocence, saying he was not involved in either the rape or murder of the Kerry sisters. One of the other three men convicted was sentenced to 30 years in prison after cooperating with prosecutors and testifying during the trial. Clemons and the other two co-defendants were sentenced to death at the time. One of those defendants was executed in October 2005 while the other had his sentence reduced to life without the possibility of parole.
The Supreme Court threw out those convictions in a 4-3 ruling and ordered the case back to the local circuit court.