State of Missouri v. Reginald Clemons

946 S.W.2d 206 (Mo.banc 1997)

ClemonsRCase Facts:  The Chain of Rocks Bridge is a highway bridge over the Mississippi River that formerly permitted traffic to travel between Illinois and Missouri before authorities closed the bridge to vehicular traffic. Julie and Robin Kerry arranged to take their visiting cousin, Thomas Cummins, to the bridge to show him a graffiti poem they had painted there several years earlier. On April 4, 1991, at approximately 11:25 p.m., the two sisters and Cummins went to the bridge.

Earlier that evening, Reginald Clemons, along with Marlin Gray, Daniel Winfrey, and Clemons cousin, Antoino Richardson, met at a mutual friend’s home. They drank beer and smoked marijuana. Gray suggested that they go to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. About 11:00p.m., Clemons, Richardson, Gray and Winfrey drove in two separate cars to the bridge. Parking near the Missouri end of the bridge, the foursome went through a hole in the fence, over a pile of rocks blocking the bridge entrance to vehicles, and onto the bridge deck. They attempted to smoke a joint of marijuana, but found the marijuana too wet to light. The group walked back toward their cars. They left behind a long metal flashlight that Richardson brought to the bridge.

The Kerry sisters and Cummins arrived at the bridge sometime after Clemons and his friends. The Kerrys and Cummins made their way onto the bridge deck and walked toward the Illinois end of the bridge. They encountered Clemons and his companions, who were headed back toward the Missouri side. The two groups briefly chatted. One of the Kerry sisters gave Winfrey a cigarette. Gary showed the Kerrys and Cummins how to climb over the bridge railing and come back up through a manhole in the bridge deck. He told Cummins that the manhole was “a good place to be alone, and take your woman.” The two groups parted, heading in opposite directions. Cummins and the Kerry sisters stopped to look at the graffiti poem and then continued walking toward Illinois.

In the meantime, Clemons and his friends had returned to the Missouri end of the bridge. As they lingered there, Clemons suggested to his companions, “Let’s rob them.” Gray replied “Yeah, I feel like hurting somebody.” Richardson suggested they rape the girls. Clemons agreed. The foursome walked back toward the Illinois end of the bridge. As they walked, Winfrey saw Gray talk to Clemons, after which Gray came to Winfrey and handed him a condom. Winfrey put the condom in his pocket and stated that he “wasn’t going to do it.” Clemons grabbed Winfrey, pushed him toward the rail of the bridge, and threatened him until Winfrey agreed to “do it.”

They caught up with the Kerry sisters and Cummins and ordered Cummins to lye on the ground. They raped the sisters and eventually ordered them into a manhole.

On the metal platform under the bridge, Cummins laid down next to Julie and Robin Kerry. They were ordered to get up and go towards the concrete pier below the platform. Julie was pushed off first, then Robin. Cummins was ordered to jump. He did. When he surfaced after his seventy-foot fall, he saw Julie nearby in the water and called for her to swim. Fighting the current and rough water, Julie grabbed Cummins, dragging them both below the surface. Cummins broke free. Julie did not reappear. Cummins eventually reached a steep riverbank and came ashore by a wooded area near the Chain of Rocks waterworks. Authorities recovered Julie’s body from the river near Caruthersville, Missouri, about three weeks later. Robin’s body is still missing.