Missouri death penalty case gets special master

ST. LOUIS | The Missouri Supreme Court has ordered a special master to investigate claims that condemned prisoner Reginald Clemons was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death.

The court announced Tuesday the appointment of Jackson County Circuit Judge Michael Manners to take evidence, hear testimony and evaluate Clemons’ claims.

Clemons was sentenced for the April 1991 murders of 20-year-old Julie Kerry and 19-year-old Robin Kerry in St. Louis. His execution was set for June 17, but a federal appeals court delayed it.

Court papers filed June 12 argue that new evidence supports Clemons’ claim that police brutalized him into giving a statement. They also say Clemons’ death sentence was out of proportion because a more culpable co-defendant received a lighter sentence.