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The mystery of Thomas Cummins remains

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 12:10 am

One of the most amazing facets of the new evidentiary hearing granted to Missouri death row inmate Reginald Clemons was the transformation of Thomas Cummins – the prosecution’s star witness in Clemons’ 1993 jury trial – into a key witness for Clemons himself. The person whose testimony played perhaps the largest role in getting Clemons the death penalty is now considered a friendly witness whose testimony could help get the condemned man off death row.

In 1993 Cummins testified in three separate trial that Clemons and his codefendants Marlin Gray and Antonio Richardson participated in a group rape of Cummins’ cousins Robin Kerry and Julie Kerry, on April 4, 1991 that ended when they were pushed to their deaths from the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Cummins testified that the youngest of the three (Richardson) pushed the girls off the bridge, but Clemons and Gray also were tried and convicted of first-degree murder as accomplices. All three were sentenced to death.

Gray was executed in 2005. Richardson’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison without possibility of parole because he was a juvenile sentenced to death by a judge, not a jury. Clemons’ execution date had been set by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2009 just weeks before the court – to the amazement of many – appointed Judge Michael Manners as Special Master to provide new findings in the case.

 

The jump that wasn’t

For those familiar with the case who are sympathetic to Clemons – who in 1991 confessed to raping one of the girls, but denied killing either, and recanted his confession two days later, claiming it was coerced and scripted – Cummins is a major figure. Many hoped to see him take the stand again in a St. Louis courtroom to answer questions about his trial testimony in 1993 and his own confession to pushing one and possibly both of the girls off the bridge. Cummins also recanted his confession, claiming it was coerced and scripted by police with details that match Clemons’ statement about his interrogation to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigator.

According to the police report on Cummins, he described the group rape scenario when he was first interviewed. But he was taken in for questioning as a suspect, rather than a witness, because he obviously was lying about one part of his story. Cummins claimed that he was held down while his cousins were raped and murdered, and then he jumped 90 feet from the bridge into the Mississippi River when ordered to. But Cummins’ hair was clean, dry and even parted when first interviewed at the crime scene, which would not be the case had he jumped off the bridge. He also was not injured. Crime scene investigators judged that Cummins would be badly injured if not killed after jumping 90 feet from the bridge to the river, and if he reached the bank of river it would have been further downstream and most likely on the Illinois side. Cummins was picked up on the Missouri side of the river, not far from the bridge.

So the police knew Cummins was lying about jumping off the bridge and apparently wondered what else he was lying about. They took him to police headquarters where, Cummins has repeatedly testified, they beat him into a confession and then wrote down what he should say when recorded on the audiotape.

 

Father disbelieves son

Unlike Clemons – who after he was taken in for questioning next saw his mother at his arraignment for first-degree murder – Cummins saw his father, Gene Cummins, before the police were finished with him. According to the police report, Cummins’ own father also “was having a hard time believing his son’s story” about jumping off the bridge. Not only the cops and his father, but also a polygraph test judged Cummins to be “deceptive.”

“Cummins stated he was afraid of that,” the police reported of Gene Cummins, “adding that when Thomas was an adolescent he would concoct elaborate stories to justify his shortcomings in school performance.”

Unlike Clemons, Thomas Cummins then benefitted from his father’s coaching about the police interrogation, as described in the police report. When Cummins runs through the group rape story again, his father stops him when he says he jumped off the bridge. According to the police report, his father “advised him that his statement regarding jumping from the bridge was hard to believe as if he had jumped from that height, he would have been injured.”

Cummins then changed his story and said he ran from the bridge and jumped into the river and swam in, trying to save his cousins before swimming back to shore. His father also found that story unbelievable, according to the police report, so Cummins changed it again, claiming he jumped into the river but didn’t see the girls so he got back out and went for help.

After this, the police report stated, Cummins’ father left the interview room and Cummins was interrogated alone by Lieutenant Steven Jacobsmeyer and Detective Chris Pappas, who also interrogated Clemons. Cummins repeatedly has testified that Jacobsmeyer was one of the cops who beat him into confessing. It is his confession during this part of the police report that prosecutor Nels Moss – who was not present for the interrogation – edited by hand, suggesting changes to the police report that were in fact made by police. Moss never produced his hand-marked copy of the police report to Clemons’ jury trial team in 1993, as ordered. The final police report, edited by the prosecutor, was what the jury that convicted Clemons heard and read at trial.

Even in the final police report, Cummins’ own father continues to disbelieve that his son jumped off the bridge, as his son first claimed in the group rape scenario. The police reported of Gene Cummins, “He made a circular motion with his right index finger at the right side of his head and said, ‘That thing he (Thomas) said about jumping off of that bridge; check into it. That can’t be right.’”

 

‘Crazy’ story accepted as fact

This was Thomas Cummins’ own father speaking to police soon after the crimes were committed. Cummins’ own father used a hand gesture to claim his son was crazy rather than accept as fact that he had been forced to jump off the bridge. Yet Nels Moss presented precisely this crazy account as factual and even spiced up this account melodramatically in closing statements at Clemons’ jury trial, fabricating details where Cummins clutches at his cousins’ bodies, trying to save them in the raging river. The last time the Missouri Supreme Court denied a Clemons appeal, it restated these counterfactual, indeed crazy, claims as fact.

It is equally amazing that event after this new evidentiary hearing in 2012, the crazy story that Cummins’ own father didn’t believe still stands in the trial record as uncontested fact. Why? Because Clemons’ trial counsel is now using Cummins’ claim that police coerced and scripted his confession as supporting evidence for Clemons’ claim that his confession was involuntary and should not have been admitted in court. Clemons’ counsel also is presenting as new evidence meriting a new trial the fact that Cummins was paid $150,000 to settle his claim of police brutality, which happened after Clemons was convicted and sentenced to death.

So just like Nels Moss needed for Cummins to be a reliable and credible witness in 1993, Clemons’ current legal team needs for Cummins to be a reliable and credible witness in 2012. If Cummins can make up a story about jumping off a bridge, and change the story at least twice, then he can make up a story about getting beaten by police into making a confession. On that point, Clemons’ counsel now needs for Cummins to be credible. So we may never have an answer to the crime scene cops’ original question: If Thomas Cummins is lying about jumping off the bridge, what else is he lying about?

However, this evidentiary hearing did much to damage the belief held by many Clemons’ supporters that Cummins made up the whole group rape scenario like the “elaborate stories” his dad said he concocted as a schoolboy. New DNA analysis of a condom, boxer shorts and pants warn by Gray the night of the crime does not provide a direct DNA match for Clemons, but it does support Cummins’ claim that his cousins endured a group rape that night. Clemons’ DNA profile can not be ruled out of the three men whose DNA was found on Gray’s condom, though Cummins cam be ruled out.

Also, Clemons himself passed up his opportunity on the witness stand to deny that a group rape occurred that night in which he participated. He denied killing either girl or being an accomplice to their premeditated murder, but he declined to answer 29 questions about the rapes and murders on the ground that his answer could incriminate him. If Thomas Cummins pushed his cousins off the bridge, as he confessed in 1991, and there was no group rape, then Clemons would have no reason to plead the 5th to 29 questions about a group rape that ended in murder.

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20 comments:

  • burrgold posted at 7:55 am on Fri, Oct 9, 2015.

    burrgold Posts: 1

    I'm appalled that the writer of this article took so little time to examine the details of the case. Read about the "facts" of Cummins' "confession" Gene Cummins did not believe his son was guilty--he was trying to make sure the facts were on the table so he could take his injured son home. The bridge was 50 feet from the river--not 90 feet.

    Shameful that the writer took so little time to write a truthful article and continues to cast doubt on the only surviving victim of this crime.

     
  • Voter posted at 2:54 pm on Fri, Feb 7, 2014.

    Voter Posts: 17

    I'm curious as to why there has been no coverage in the St. Louis American of the Clemons hearing before the Supreme Court earlier this week? I was just rereading the disgustingly libelous article by the "EYE" regarding Thomas Cummins. I'd suggest to Virvus that he read Judge Manners' factually detailed analysis of Thomas Cummins's misstreatment at the hands of the St. Louis Police Department and at the hands of Amnestry International and the other supporters of Clemons, some of whom commented below. Three important statements of Judge Manners you can find beginning at Page 86 (although I suggest you read the entire opinion) are the following: “The time has finally come to drive a stake through the heart of the shibboleth that Thomas Cummins is the murderer responsible for the deaths of the Kerry sisters” and “Cummins is the only man in this whole sorry affair with the character to resist blatant violations of his constitutional rights” and finally “Two different juries heard the nonsense about Cummins running off the bridge instead of jumping, and the claim that he startled Julie Kerry and caused her to fall…..Two juries saw Thomas Cummins testify; he gave an account that was internally consistent in all major details through several iterations and which was borne out by independent testimony from Daniel Winfrey, who was hardly his friend….I saw Mr. Cummins testify, and I can understand why three juries found him to be the most honest man in this forest of deceit.” Judge Manners went out of his way to exonnerate Thomas Cummins even though Cummins wasn't the focus of these proceedings. So, Virvus, do you have the strength of character to at the very least admit your rantings about Cummins were based on the same faulty premises which Judge Manners went out of his way to refute? I hope so.

     
  • ogel posted at 11:01 am on Fri, Dec 13, 2013.

    ogel Posts: 532

    Correction of my misstatement: If this man were innocent and actually put to death, wouldn't that be just as heinous as the crime he is accused of "COMMITTING?"

     
  • ogel posted at 10:56 am on Fri, Dec 13, 2013.

    ogel Posts: 532

    Why is the verdict in this case such a great mystery? The mere fact that so much debate as well as controversy continues to exist to this day should be sufficient proof to all concerned that there is the existence of "reasonable doubt." Are we to convict any man in the face of such "reasonable doubt?" Even more important, are we to put a man to death in the face of such doubt?

    Should we convict because the crime may have been heinous? Wouldn't it be just as heinous to convict an innocent man?

    Isn't it contemptible to think that there are some who equate a conviction in this case, despite the existence of reasonable doubt, as a significant achievement in their career? If this man were innocent and actually put to death, wouldn't that be just as heinous as the crime he is accused of admitting.

    We know that our judicial system is all that we have. We also know that it is fraught injustice as well as error. That does not justify our turning a blind eye and deaf ear to those problems are accepting them as status quo. Rather, we should acknowledge their existence and do all that we can to address and minimize them.

    Beyond reasonable doubt is the standard of evidence required to validate a criminal conviction. Every juror should adhere to that principle.

     
  • Kel posted at 1:56 pm on Thu, Dec 12, 2013.

    Kel Posts: 24

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/748644-sc90197-masters-report.html

    Perhaps the EYE and "citizen" want to read what Judge Manners says about Thomas Cummins in his report to the Supreme Court, beginning in Paragraph 3 on page 86 and through page 88..."The time has finally come to drive a stake through the heart of the shibboleth (an opinion commonly believed, but untrue) that Thomas Cummins is the murderer responsible for the death of the Kerry sisters....." Manners goes to great lengths to lay out, fact by fact, how Cummins' story is truth. If you choose to exerpt a few lines of a 107 page opinion as the Gospel that Reggie was mistreated by the police, then you have to give equal credence to the Judge's finding that Cummins' story is undeniable.

    Eye, any chance you'd be willing to print an apology to Cummins?

     
  • Noticerofidiotreporters posted at 11:07 pm on Mon, Sep 2, 2013.

    Noticerofidiotreporters Posts: 1

    The author of this article is clearly an attention-seeking, disorganized, unprofessional author who clearly never took anything good from what is probably a flattering education (on paper). A real reporter gets the facts straight, presents them in a professional manner and doesn't make up his or her own fantasy version of an awful crime that impacted the real victims forever. Shame on you.

     
  • citizen posted at 10:29 pm on Wed, Oct 10, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    I've grown weary of the back and forth with you as well Voter, but I'll skip the name calling. Moss (of the Circuit Attorney's office where decisions about whether charges will be issued are made, that is, "who the crime is going to be pinned on in a criminal proceeding") made the switch, literally editing the initial police report and taking out Cummins admission of guilt to fit the case that he wanted to make. This was made plain at the hearing. And yes I'm saying those officers didn't care that he did it or how they wrapped up the case. Our criminal justice system is replete with examples of exactly the kind of corruption I'm describing in this case on the part of police officers and prosecutors as well.

    It is not unprecedented nor is it difficult to imagine criminal justice officials abusing the process. Over one hundred and forty people in the U.S. have been exonerated after being convicted and sentenced to death because they were later found to be innocent, having been convicted with compromised evidence, coerced confessions, prosecutorial misconduct, mis-identification or some combination of these. Thousands more that didn't face the death penalty have been exonerated for lesser crimes after being convicted because they were also innocent and had been convicted in many cases with the help of a corrupt prosecutors wilful misconduct.

    You remind me of the many St. Louis officials who were 'outraged' at the 'ludicrous' charges leveled against them when a report was issued about conditions in St. Louis' jails in 2009. The report was deemed 'unfounded', 'unsubstantiated' or otherwise unlikely to be based in fact by the mayor, the public safety guy - everybody . Except, since then, we have seen literally every single charge leveled against the jails in the report substantiated, including the allegations of physical abuse, guards having intercourse with inmates, medical neglect , and drug sales, which of course led to scapegoating and demotions. We will see what this hearing brings and what the Missouri Supreme Court decides to do with the case. In the end let justice be served. It has always been about that.

     
  • Voter posted at 9:58 am on Wed, Oct 10, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    Citizen, up until the last two posts you actually made a few cogent points. Although factually wrong, I could see how hearing one sided misstatements of what happened could lead you to your incorrect conclusions about Cummins. But now, your last two posts reveal you to be the cuckoo bird you really are. Cummins was a victim, plain and simple. He was a victim of Marlin, Reggie, Antonio and Daniel just like Julie and Robin and later, Cummins was a victim of the Jacobsmeyer and crew on the SLMPD.

    None of your allegations regarding Cummins and his father are accurate. Yes, his father said that as a child he made up stories, but what child doesn't. The full extent of any coerced confession that Cummins gave was only to say "if you say I did it, then I did it" and that was only after 30 some hours of sleep deprivation and physical assault. The only support the police got from Cummins' father is when they lied to him about the height of the fall and the currents of the river and other details, so you could argue that he was a victim of the poliers as well. The written notes from the police were just that, written theories of theirs, not Cummins', which they tried to force him into signing or repeating on videotape. Cummins wouldn't do any of that.

    To state that the police had the correct killer in Cummins and then, miraculously, woke up the next morning and just decided to pin the crime on 4 random strangers is just, well, STUPID!!! And on top of that, that the police decided to give the real murderer $150,000 to save his own life by lying and making up a story to convict 4 random strangers is so UNBELIEVABLY STUPID that I can't believe that I'm wasting my time refuting such imbecility. What possible motivation would exist for the police (lazy public servants) to want to exert any additional effort in order to let the "real murderer go free" and pay him $150,000 just so they can convict 4 innocent people?

    At some point, even the most ardent of conspiracy theorists, whether they be blinded by racism or some other mind altering neurosis, have to come to grips with facts.

    Good luck in your future endeavors. I hear OJ and Scott Peterson are looking for advocates as well.

     
  • citizen posted at 9:39 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    Voter for some reason in my last post the site flagged the common word for intercourse profanity. But the sentence about Cummins confession was about the fact that he was refused intercourse that night so naturally there would be none of that type of biological evidence from him there...

     
  • citizen posted at 9:35 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    Voter, Moss withheld the evidence he altered which was the statement Cummins gave implicating himself in the deaths of his cousins. There would be no evidence of his fluids there because he never engaged in the act. The idea that Cummins was beaten so severely that he would implicate himself in the deaths of his family members - with his father an estimated 20 feet away in the next room according to testimony at the recent hearings, while the confession is beaten out of him (add to that an attorney that comes to the station that night to advise Cummins).....is far fetched. In fact his father said they had been treated well there at police headquarters. That would have been the time for Cummins to say "Dad they beat me and made me say this!" It's another lie from Cummins, about whom we disagree. I think he was involved and is a shameless coward. I don't think he was made to do anything on that bridge. The 150k settlement he received really amounts to paid false testimony. Ironically it is the most direct route for Clemons now to show disparate treatment in the trial proceedings, which is why his attorneys have focused on it. They need Cummins allegation of a coerced confession to clearly illustrate how flawed the whole trial was. The fact that the young men were on the bridge that night and that they left a flash light there doesn't necessarily make them guilty of anything. And Antonio was 15, mentally challenged, and alone when he was questioned by the police relative to what happened, he has since described how he was directed relative to the statements they were looking for about what happened on the bridge that night. Daniel Winfrey? At the time he was going to testify against Gray, Clemons, and Richardson he was asked why he was going to substantiate Cummins wild story. His answer a jailhouse statement that "nobody is going to believe the black guys anyway..." (I'd tell you what he really said but this site blocks profanity) which Moss succesfully kept from the jury. His letter to the family leaves room for speculation about what, or who, promted it. And Moss. Voter, Moss wasn't an overzealous attorney - he was a corrupt one, one of the most corrupt in the nation at the time he tried this case. Google him and see what the courts, the courts Voter, have to say about him. He IS the case for more severe sanctions against prosecutorial misconduct. I will allow that even though it was refuted to some extent, the state's presentation of DNA evidence at the hearing caused me to reflect somewhat differently than I have these past years, although the idea of three young men sharing a condom is hard to picture. And the fact that the rape kit and lab test results were produced so late by Moss...20 years late, is troubling. Justice is our mutual concern here and no one that I know that has advocated for Reggie has forgotten for a second that something terrible happened to those young ladies on the bridge that night. But what? Justice demands accountability for those responsible. A new trial in which all the evidence is presented to the jury will bring that out, which many believe is why Reggie took the 5th, to focus narrowly on the coerced confession at this hearing because it is the most obvious example of disparate treatment at the original trial, and his best chance for a new one. At the end of a fair trial "Justice" will be my rallying cry Voter, as it should be at all times.

     
  • Popke posted at 3:20 pm on Tue, Oct 9, 2012.

    Popke Posts: 3

    Citizen,Is this you Andrew? I wondered where you were. You just can't leave Tom Cummins alone can you? It really bothers you that Tom is innocent and Clemons is guilty.

     
  • Voter posted at 3:24 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    Citizen, I do believe that the police beat Reggie, Marlin, Antonio, Daniel and Cummins. That's pretty much a well established fact, or at the very least it is a reasonable inference that can be drawn from the fact that they paid Cummins $150K.

    I also believe that they (the police officers involved) should have been prosecuted for their misconduct, fired and imprisoned. I also believe that torture produces false confessions, whether that torture takes place in Guantanamo or at 12th and Clark.
    I believe that Moss was an impassioned prosecutor, but I don't think he overstepped his bounds to such an extent as to warrant a new trial. I'm not so sure that I agree that Moss withheld evidence regarding the rape kit of the sister whose body was found three weeks after the crime. Reggie didn't admit to raping Julie Kerry, he said he raped Robin, so what's the point about the rape kit for someone he wasnt' accused of raping?
    Here is why I do believe he is guilty. Take away his confession and you still have plenty of evidence to prove he committed the rape of Robin Kerry and, therefore, is guilty of murder under the Felony Murder rule. Cummins story and Daniel's story match. Daniel confessed in the presence of his parents. Daniel wrote to the Kerry family long after all four cases were over, apologizing for his part in the crimes. So where is Daniel today? If his confession were coerced then why isn't he hollering about it now?
    And what about the flashlight that Antonio stole from his girlfriend's father? You remember, the one that was found on the bridge, the one that Cummins told the police that the 4 guys claimed to be looking for and that led the police to Antonio in the first place. Antonio wasn't in custody when he ratted out Marlin and Reggie, he just conveniently left out his involvement. I'm not saying Reggie should be executed, I'm against the death penalty. I'm not saying he doesn't deserve a new trial, either. I'm just saying that he is just as guilty now as he was back in 1991 when he participated in these crimes.
    I'm also saying that it is shameful that Cummins is being defiled by the likes of you and the author of this article when he clearly isn't guilty of anything. Especially given the fact that he was abosolutely cleared by DNA based on the evidence that proves Marlin's guilt and implicates Reggie.
    So what if Cummins ran away. So what if they made him push the girls off the bridge. I don't know if any of that happened, but I'm guessing that's your allegation. So give Reggie the new trial, he will still be guilty and then what will your rallying cry be?

     
  • ObjectiveTruth posted at 1:31 pm on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    ObjectiveTruth Posts: 1

    Well Voter, it seems as if you are insinuating that Clemons is guilty since he plead the fifth, and so many times. If this is the case, and what you believe, then you must believe that the police officers who Clemons alleged beat him into a confession are also guilty. I say this because during the hearing it was revealed during questioning by Judge Manners that both Jacobsmeyer and Pappas initially plead the fifth when they were questioned during the investigation regarding the alleged beatings.

     
  • Voter posted at 7:46 am on Mon, Oct 8, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    Citizen, my thoughts are...on the advice of my attorney, I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me. Now repeat that 32 times.

     
  • citizen posted at 7:54 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    Voter, since you were there then you must also know that Clemon's defense team cross examined the state's DNA witnesses and we all learned that different metrics (which were not used in this instance but are widely used in other DNA work around the nation) would have produced markedly different results which meant a much larger pool of African American men could not be excluded, numerically, from the sample that was tested, even among African American men that never have set foot in this city. So to rephrase - let's present that evidence in a new trial, where all the new evidence can be presented and considered by a jury, rather than withholding it from the jury as it was during the first trial. And it is interesting that I have to draw the inference that you were at the hearings. That means you were there when Moss admitted that there was perjury on the part of either Cummins or the officers that all testified against Clemons. Your thoughts? And your earlier comments about allowing for Clemons confession being coerced and then asking if that makes him any less guilty...you don't want to start us down that path, the one where we do whatever to an individual until he or she says what we want him or her to say (we point fingers at other nations for that kind of thing and say they are part of an axis of evil). That is why torture is not really valued as a way to gain meaningful intelligence, under extreme duress due to extreme pain, or even the threat of it, people will say anything. Cummins has bolstered Clemons' claim of having his confession beaten out of him by stating that his was beaten out of him too. Let the guilt or innocence of either man be determined by having ALL the evidence presented to a jury. What do you think the original jury would have done knowing that material witnesses against the accused perjured themselves during their testimony against him?

     
  • Voter posted at 4:22 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    Citizen, if YOU would have been at the hearings held here in St. Louis YOU would know that the DNA evidence was presented in open court. The DNA evidence excluded Thomas Cummins and implicated Marlin and Reggie. Don't take my word for it, though, take the word of the Political Eye who reported just that in his article in this very paper.

     
  • citizen posted at 1:53 pm on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    His shirt was completely dry too, but his pants were soaking wet... so it corroborates ONE of the stories he told, not the one about jumping in the river from the bridge...it corroborates the one about coming down off the bridge and going out into the river from the banks. No one from the U.S. Army Corps of engineers responded to the scene - officials from the Missouri Water Patrol and Coast Guard did. There was video of Cummis in the EMS vehicle taken the day of the incident. We know how long his hair was. Dry hair or not, there was no residual material from the river in his hair, none, he never jumped off the bridge into the river. You should have come to the hearings held here recently and you would know the record. You would also know that at the hearing, former prosecutor Nels Moss acknowledged under oath on the stand that material witnesses who provided testimony at the original trial leading to Clemons conviction perjured themselves. You have disregarded everything that would point to Cummins guilt. Again, if the DNA evidence is compelling present it in open court, and get Cummins back on the stand to at least provide a reason for lying initially when he was questioned about what happened on the bridge that night.

     
  • Voter posted at 11:51 am on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    I don't know where you get your information from, citizen, but the police did fabricate the distance from the bridge to the water. The source of that information was a guestimate of one of the officers by looking down from the bridge. The water patrol and coast guard do not monitor the Mississippi River, river levels an currents are monitored by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The river level today is the lowest its been in 50 years and the distance from bridge surface to the water isn't close to 90' now.

    Thomas Cummins had short hair in 1991, he was out of the water for hours before he was questioned by investigators. It doesn't take long for short hair to dry. Also, The story about Cummins' hair being neat and clean comes from the same cops whom you disbelieve regarding every utterance regarding Reggie and friends. So if they say it about Cummins it's true, but if they say it about Reggie it's false?
    The responding cops also issued a report as to Cummins' condition when they encountered him. It corroborates Tom Cummins' story entirely.

     
  • citizen posted at 10:58 am on Fri, Oct 5, 2012.

    citizen Posts: 12

    "But Clemons hair was clean dry and even parted when first interviewed at the crime scene, which would not be the case had he jumped off the bridge." That would be the case whether he jumped 90 feet off the bridge, 40 feet, or five feet over the side of a boat into the river. Water is wet, if you are sumberged in it so are you. The police did not provide the estimate of the jump distance they included it in the report, officials from the Missouri Water Patrol and Coast Guard were better qualified to make the estimate and determine how currents were running. What was Cummins motivation to lie about that? And clearly he lied about it. Antonio was told what to say, just like Reggie and Marlin. In the interest of truth and justice, another trial should be held, if this DNA evidence is compelling, present it in open court. And get Cummins back on the stand under oath to give us some context for why it was necessary for him to lie when he was initially questioned.

     
  • Voter posted at 11:35 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Voter Posts: 17

    Let's say that Reggie's confession was not given voluntarily, that the police beat it out of him. That's no huge stretch given the reputation of the SLMPD, but it also doesn't mean that Reggie is innocent. After all, Reggie didn't confess to murder, he only confessed to the rape of one of the sisters, but that's still a felony and under the Felony Murder Rule he can be tried for murder. So let's all agree, for the sake of argument that Reggie was beat to get him to confess. So throw out his confession, and Marlin's too, while you're at it. Does that make them any less guilty?

    Did Antonio, who threw everyone else under the bus from the very beginning, have some extrasensory clairvoyance that allowed him to concoct the exact same story as Tom Cummins told at the beginning and the end? While we are on the subject of Cummins, why the need to continue to portray him as the villain? You insist that the cops make things up and coerced the confessions of Clemons et al, I agree with that. But you insist on assuming that every scribble on a piece of paper from those same cops be the gospel truth when they are about Cummins. For instance, that Cummins fell or jumped 90' into the water from the bridge and was uninjured so he must be lying. Well the lie there isn't that he was uninjured, but rather that the fall was 90'. The fall was more like 40 to 45' and the currents under the Chain of Rocks Bridge didn't flow toward IL on that evening. Those were lies told to Cummins' father by the SLMPD in order to get him to encourage his son to confess.

    As you say near your conclusion, the new DNA evidence does much to damage to the Clemons supporters. The DNA supports Cummins's story, so why the need to further persecute the victim?