3.25.2012

Death row inmate Reggie Clemons' hearing rescheduled; Supporters refuse to slow down campaign for his freedom



by Jesse Muhammad

(FinalCall.com) - Vera Thomas’ son, Reginald Clemons, has been sitting on death row in the state of Missouri for 19 years in connection with murders she wholeheartedly believes he did not commit.

“He remains hopeful that we will finally get our day in court. We hope the flaws from his original trial will be addressed and we will receive justice,” Mrs. Thomas told The Final Call. She visited the 40-year-old Black inmate on March 2 at the Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point, MO along with supportive human rights activists.

“I refuse to stop fighting. I retired from my job last year so I could focus more time on Reggie’s case,” said Mrs. Thomas, who worked for the U.S. Dept. of Defense for 32 years. For the third time since his stay of execution three years ago, Mr. Clemons’ hearing has been pushed back to Sept. 17.

Despite no physical evidence linking him to the St. Louis crime, Mr. Clemons was convicted and sentenced to death in connection with the 1991 deaths of two White siblings, Robin and Julie Kerry, who drowned after falling from the Chain of the Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. Judge Michael Manners, the special master appointed to review the case by the Missouri Supreme Court, was asked to consider some evidence that had been held in cold storage at the police department’s crime lab. The attorney general’s office unveiled that the state had discovered three laboratory reports and certain physical evidence, including what is commonly referred to as a rape kit. The evidence had not been previously disclosed as part of Mr. Clemons’ case.

 St. Louis activist Jamala Rogers told The Final Call, “Our efforts must not and will not slow down. Reggie told me that this offers us more time to get legally prepared.” Ms. Rogers spearheads the “Justice for Reggie” campaign. She said since the hearing was originally scheduled for March 5, they had a lot of events lined up that were not cancelled. “We still went forward with our statewide tour in Jefferson City, Springfield and Columbia to keep the momentum going despite the postponement of the hearing,” she said. [Read the Full Article]