Morning headlines: Sunday, September 16, 2012
Judge to consider claims of Mo. death row inmate
This week a special judge appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court will start taking another look at evidence used to convict Reggie Clemmons of murder in 1991.
Yesterday a coalition of local and international activist held a pre-hearing rally in support of Clemmons at Kiener Plaza in St. Louis.
President of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP, Adolphus Pruitt, said there are lingering questions about the evidence used to convict Clemmons.
“I don’t think that we’re at a point where we think that all of the issues have been truly vetted and been looked at and given consideration as to one, whether he’s guilty or innocent, or, two, does he deserve to die,” Pruitt said.
Other groups at the rally included the ACLU and Amnesty International.
Kellie Willis is with the Organization for Black Struggle and said she hasn’t seen this level of cooperation between activist groups in the past.
“I think that despite where people may fall on the issue of the death penalty, this case and the injustices within it are really uniting people and that’s very important,” Willis said.
After the hearing, Special Master, Judge Michael Manners, will make a recommendation the Missouri Supreme Court, which could range from throwing out the original conviction to leaving Clemmons on death row.
Clemons was among four men convicted of murder by a jury that found they had forced two women and their male cousin to jump of the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River.
The cousin was the sole survivor.
One of the other men convicted in the killings was executed, one is on parole and one is serving a life term.
Members of the Muslim community host "Day of Caring"
More than 150 members of the Muslim community in St. Louis will spend this morning handing out gift packages to firefighters and police officers.
Bahar Bastani helped organize the event and said in years past the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.
And despite the recent violence surround U-S embassies in the Middle East; he doesn’t expect anything to change this year.
“We live in this community, we have a lot of privileges in this community," Bastani said. "The US has helped us to grow and to have a very good life and we’re trying to tell ourselves and our kids that we should give back something.”
Volunteers will also visit nursing homes and homeless shelters.
Five die in SW Missouri small plane crash
A small plane has crashed in Missouri, killing the owners of two businesses and three children.
Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Pace told the Springfield News-Leader that the plane went down about 12:30 a.m. Saturday near the town of Willard.
He says the plane appeared to have been headed toward the Springfield airport when it crashed. Troopers are securing the scene until investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration arrive.
Pace identified those killed as 44-year-old John Lambert, 46-year-old Robin Melton, 10-year-old Joshua Lambert, 15-year-old McKinley Lambert and 16-year-old Grayson Lambert. Pace says John Lambert was piloting the plane.
Lambert owned Missouri Insulation & Supply Inc., while Melton owned an environmental consulting firm called Environmental Works Inc.