MO Statehouse
4:29 pm
Tue January 4, 2011

Supporters of Richard Clay ask Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon to halt his execution

The family of Missouri death row inmate Richard Clay and an anti-death penalty group are asking Governor Jay Nixon to halt Clay's scheduled execution next week.

Clay was sentenced to die for the 1994 shooting death of Randy Martindale in New Madrid.  But his supporters say authorities arrested, tried and convicted the wrong person.

Kiefer Clay, Richard's son, wants Governor Nixon to appoint a board of inquiry to investigate claims that someone else killed Martindale.

"I'm left with begging for my dad's life," Clay read from a statement to reporters at a press conference today.  "I choose life over death, and I want you to give him a chance to live.  I don't want to be a statistic...I do not want to be the son of a man wrongfully executed."

Jennifer Herndon, Clay's attorney, suggested that Stacey Martindale, the victim's wife, may have been the shooter.  Stacey was convicted of second-degree murder and spent 15 years in prison before being released.

A spokesman for Governor Nixon says he'll review Clay's application for clemency once it's received.

Herndon also says her client was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She accuses Kenny Hulshof, who prosecuted the case for the state, of hiding evidence and misleading the jury during Clay's trial.

"It's troubling because he's innocent of this crime," Herndon said.  "Even if he wasn't innocent, it would be troubling that a conviction and a death sentence and an execution will be carried out based on the things that Kenny Hulshof did."

Hulshof later served as a U.S. Congressman and ran unsuccessfully against Jay Nixon for Missouri Governor in 2008.  So far, neither Hulshof nor his law office have responded to requests for an interview.