On October 26, Marlin Gray was executed by the state of Missouri for the rape and murder of Julie and Robin Kerry on the Chain of Rocks Bridge near St. Louis in 1991.
Originally the girls' cousin, Thomas Cummins, was arrested, and confessed but retracted the confession claiming his confession had been coerced in police custody. He later filed suit and was reportedly paid $150,000.
Meanwhile four young men were arrested, three of whom received death sentences. Daniel Winfrey was too young for a death sentence; Antonio Richardson originally was sentenced to death but that sentence was commuted to life because a judge, not jury, gave him death. That left Gray and Reginald Clemons, who is still on death row.
These convictions highlight some problems with our criminal justice system. First, the victims, their cousin, and Winfrey are white; Richardson, Clemons, and Gray are/were black.
Second, the evidence is completely dependent on eyewitness testimony and confession. Gray, like Cummins (and Clemons), confessed--Gray confessed only to rape--but retracted their confessions claiming coercive interrogation techniques. The other evidence was what others said. Since each one had something to gain for pointing the finger, the testimony of all of them is inherently untrustworthy.
Abolish the death penalty!
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