State of Missouri v. Antonio D. Richardson

923 S.W.2d 301 (Mo.banc 1996)

10/28/03 – Death sentence commuted to life without parole by Missouri Supreme Court.

Case Facts: On April 4, 1991 Antonio Richardson, Marlin Gray, Reginald Clemons and Daniel Winfrey went to the Chain of Rocks Bridge which spans the Mississippi between St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois. Two sisters, Julie and Robin Kerry and their cousin, Thomas Cummins also went to the bridge so that the Kerry sisters could show their cousin a poem that they had printed on the bridge.

While on the bridge the two groups encountered each other. The two groups exchanged pleasantries and talked for a short time. Gray showed Cummins and the Kerrys how to climb down a manhole on the deck of the bridge to a metal platform that lead to a concrete prier supporting the bridge. Gray told Cummins the platform was a good place to be alone with a woman. When the two groups separated the Kerrys and Cummins walked east toward Illinois and the others went west toward Missouri.

Shortly after the groups separated, Clemons suggested that they rob the Kerrys and Cummins. Gray replied that he felt like hurting someone and the group turned around and walked east. The group eventually came upon the Kerrys and Cummins. Richardson yelled something at some campers on the bank below and the Kerrys and Cummins started walking west toward Missouri.

As the groups passed a bend in the bridge, Gray put his arm around Cummins and told him “This is a robbery. Get down on the ground.” Cummins complied and Richardson, Clemons and Winfrey grabbed the Kerrys. One of the three told the girls to stop screaming or they would be thrown off the bridge. Richardson held the first sister’s shoulders down while Clemons ripped off her clothing and raped her. Richardson then raped the first sister while Clemons held her down. Winfrey held the second sister down and covered her face with her coat. One of the assailants told Cummins that he would be killed if he looked up from the ground. Gray then told Winfrey to watch Cummins. Gray and Clemons then tore off the second sister’s clothes and each raped her.

Richardson forced the first sister into the manhole and followed her while Gray raped the second sister. When Gray had finished he asked Winfrey where Richardson had gone. Winfrey indicated that he had gone west. Gray then went in search of Richardson and the first sister. Clemons then forced the second sister down the manhole through which Richardson had taken the first sister. Clemons then robbed Cummins of his wallet, wristwatch, cash and keys. Clemons then forced Cummins into the manhole. Winfrey went to the entrance of the bridge to Fred Gray.

Under the bridge, the Kerrys and Cummins were told to step out onto the concrete pier below the metal platform. The three were told not to touch each other. The Kerrys were pushed from the pier falling a distance of about 70 feet. Cummins was told to jump which he did. When Cummins came to the surface he saw Julie Kerry nearby in the water and called for her to swim. The current brought the two together and Julie grabbed Cummins who broke free after he started drown. Cummins did not see Julie Kerry again.

Richardson and Clemons met Winfrey and Gray near the entrance to the bridge. Clemons said “We pushed them off. Let’s go.” The group ran to their cars and drove to Alton, Illinois for gas, cigarettes and sandwiches. The group then drove back to an observation point near the river where Gray and Clemons speculated that the three would never make it to the shore. Gray told Clemons that Richardson was brave to push the Kerry sisters off the bridge.

Julie Kerry’s body was found three weeks later by the Sheriff of Pemiscott County, Missouri in the Mississippi River. Robin Kerry’s body was never recovered. Cummins survived and testified at Richardson’s trial.

Legal Chronology:
4/4 – Antonio Richardson with co-defendants Marlin Gray, Reginald Clemons and David Winfrey raped and killed Julie and Robin Kerry by pushing them off the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.
6/21 – Richardson is charged by indictment with murder first degree.

3/15-Richardson’s trial begins in the St. Louis City Circuit Court.
7/2-Richardson is sentenced to death.
7/6-Richardson files a notice of appeal.

1/6-Richardson files a motion for post-conviction relief.

5/2-The St. Louis City Circuit Court denies the motion for post-conviction relief.

5/28-The Missouri State Supreme Court affirms the conviction and sentence and the denial of post-conviction relief.
11/4-The United States Supreme Court denies certiorari review.
12/3-Richardson files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

7/20-The District Court denies the petition for writ of habeas corpus.

8/17-The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the denial of relief.

5/15-The U.S. su0rme Court declines discretionary review.
5/16-The State requests the Missouri Supreme Court to set an execution date.

2/6-The Missouri State Supreme Court sets Richardson’s execution date for March 7, 2001