St. Louis Public Radio News
9:39 am
Wed July 1, 2009

Missouri Supreme Court to review evidence in death penalty case

Jefferson City, Mo. – In a rare move, the Missouri Supreme Court has ordered a special investigator to look into claims that condemned prisoner Reginald Clemons was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death.

On Tuesday the court announced the appointment of Judge Michael Manners of Kansas City as a special master. He will take evidence, hear testimony and evaluate Clemons' claims.

Clemons was sentenced to death for the 1991 murders of sisters Julie Kerry, 20, and 19-year-old Robin Kerry at the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.

His execution was set for June 17, but a federal appeals court delayed it because of a separate claim about the lethal injection process.

Clemons' attorneys argue that new evidence supports their client's claim that police brutalized him into giving a statement.

They also say the death sentence was out of proportion because a more culpable co-defendant received a lighter sentence.