One of the four men who raped two girls and threw them off a bridge in 1991 has pleaded guilty in Missouri, more than a quarter century after the crime.
On April 4, 1991, four men encountered sisters Julie and Robin Kerry and their cousin, Thomas Cummins, on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The sisters had brought their cousin to the bridge that night to show him a poem they had written on the bridge, according to news reports.
The men robbed Cummins, raped the Kerry sisters, and then pushed them off the bridge. They forced Cummins to jump at gunpoint, but he survived, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Three of the men were sentenced decades ago. Marin Gray, 38, was executed in 2005. Antonio Richardson, now 43, pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence. Daniel Winfrey, now 42, was only 15 at the time of the killings and was sentenced to 30 years after pleading guilty. He was paroled in 2006, but violated his parole and is back in prison, according to the Post-Dispatch.
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The fourth man was Reginald Clemons, now 46, who was originally convicted and sentenced to death. He was weeks from his execution when an appeals court blocked it, and eventually his conviction was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court — not due to innocence, but because St. Louis prosecutors had suppressed evidence and detectives had beaten Clemons into confessing, according to news reports.
Clemons remained in custody, serving a 15-year sentence for a 2007 assault of a corrections officer, while prosecutors vowed to try him again. He was set to go to trial in January, but on Monday he pleaded guilty to five counts: two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of rape, and one count of first-degree murder, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Clemons was immediately sentenced to five consecutive life prison sentences. Missouri life sentences are 30 years, according to the Post-Dispatch, but they will run consecutively and after his current 15-year sentence. In all, his sentence totals 165 years in prison.
One of the sisters’ bodies was eventually found in another county. The other sister’s body was never found.