ST. LOUIS • A former Missouri Supreme Court chief justice will review claims by Reginald Clemons that the Missouri attorney general’s office improperly gleaned defense strategy by obtaining jailhouse visitor logs and telephone recordings.
Mike Wolff, who also served as dean of St. Louis University’s law school, has been appointed special master in the death penalty retrial of Clemons that is set for January.
Clemons, 44, and three others were accused of raping and murdering sisters Julie Kerry, 20, and Robin Kerry, 19, by forcing them off the closed Chain of Rocks Bridge in April 1991. The Kerry sisters’ cousin, Thomas Cummins, survived his fall from the bridge.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison ordered Wolff to determine if the state violated attorney-client privilege or learned identities of defense expert witnesses when it subpoenaed jail visitor logs and recordings of hundreds of Clemons’ phone calls at the jail since last year.
Wolff declined to comment Tuesday.
Clemons’ lawyers say the recordings obtained by prosecutors include at least three phone calls to defense lawyers and may have revealed the names of defense expert witnesses to testify at trial. Prosecutors have said Clemons waived his right to privacy when he called his lawyers from jail, knowing phone calls are recorded.
Clemons’ lawyers had been negotiating a plea agreement but no deal has been made.
Clemons’ trial is set for Jan. 8; prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Clemons was convicted in 1993 but the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the conviction in 2015 and sent the case back to circuit court.
Marlin Gray, 38, was executed in 2005 for his role in the sisters’ deaths. Antonio D. Richardson, 42, is serving life without parole.
The fourth defendant, Daniel Winfrey, 41, who was 15 at the time of the killings, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to up to 30 years but was paroled in 2007. He returned to prison again for parole violations in 2011 and 2012 and is serving time at the Farmington Correctional Facility.