Judge Michael Manners, the Special Master assigned by the Missouri Supreme Court to review the case of Reggie Clemons, issued his findings today to the state’s high court. Clemons is on death row for the murders of Robin and Julie Kerry in the infamous Chain of Rocks Bridge case. Over the last four years, Judge Manners had the arduous task of reviewing thousands of pages of court transcripts, videotapes and exhibits spanning three trials and the lives of seven young people. His findings are not rulings but non binding guidance to the Missouri Supreme Court who in term will make a ruling.
Of the two critical elements of Reggie’s habeas corpus, Judge Manners found that prosecutors had suppressed evidence in Reggie’s trial and his confession was forced. He further found that Reggie’s attorneys did not establish his “gateway claim of innocence.”
This is yet another phase in the journey for justice in Reggie’s case. Supporters have waged a 22-year struggle to bring the complicated case from out of the judicial shadows into the light.
Says Reggie’s mother, Vera Thomas, “This was such a derailment of due process from the very beginning so I thank the community for all their efforts that has brought us this far. I am grateful to the Missouri Supreme Court for giving us this opportunity to open up this case and for the special efforts of Judge Michael Manners in reviewing the case. I’m also appreciative of Reggie’s phenomenal legal team who has been on this case many years.”
The Missouri Supreme Court must now rule on Judge Manners’ findings. The Justice for Reggie Campaign hopes that the court will take into consideration the tainted nature of the investigation from the onset and bring the case to a just close.
“The wheels of justice are still turning, ”said Thomas, “but there are no winners in a death penalty case.”