The Troubling Case of Reggie Clemmons

Reggie Clemons is an African-American man sentenced to death in Missouri after an unfair trial biased in favor of execution.  Jaws of Justice Radio host Sista G will introduce Reggie talking about his arrest and beating by the police that led to a confession for rape and how that confession got him the death penalty.  Then Cathleen Burnett, Professor of Criminology at UMKC will talk about the upcoming hearing with the Grand Master Judge appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to investigate the improprieties in Reggie’s case.

Reggie was sentenced to death for the 1991 murders of Robin and Julie Kerry, who drowned after plunging from the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. At the time of his arrest, Reggie was a 19 year-old with no criminal history. He was among a group of four young men (ranging from ages 15 to 23 years) who encountered the Kerry sisters and their cousin, Thomas Cummins (all white), on the bridge. Cummins first confessed to the crime and was immediately charged.

The spotlight soon shifted to the three African-Americans and the nightmare began. After exhausting all legal remedies, Reggie received an execution date for June 17, 2009. The Missouri Supreme Court appointed a special master to hear evidence in the case, Among red flags raised: his confession to rape obtained through police beating; prosecutorial misconduct; inept legal representation and self-serving testimony by the police’s first suspect. Clemons also had no prior criminal record. Marlin Gray, another African-American, was executed in 2005 for the deaths despite a strong possibility he wasn’t guilty. For more on Reggie’s case:   The hearing with the Special Master Judge is currently scheduled for September 17, 2012 in St Louis.

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