By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
St. Louis (KSDK) - For the first time in 20 years, the family of Julie and Robin Kerry issued a statement to NewsChannel 5 and the I-Team's Leisa Zigman regarding Reginald Clemons and the murders of Julie and Robin Kerry.
They asked to set the record straight because they felt public support had shifted towards Clemons and St. Louis had forgotten the horrific murders.
Here is their statement in its entirety:
"It is with great sadness that we, the family of Julie and Robin Kerry, and Tom Cummins, make the following statement. We would prefer to remain beyond the public debate about the execution of Reginald Clemons, as we are not responsible for his fate. What we are responsible for, is protecting the memory and integrity of his victims and preventing, as much as we are able, the distortion of the truth of what happened on the night of April 4, 1991.
"It is unsurprising that Mr. Clemons and his family and attorneys are now engaged in a series of elaborate distractions, in an effort to save his life. It is even rather predictable that they will stretch and distort the facts as a matter of course in these efforts. But it is shocking and abhorrent that the news media have become such malleable and willful participants in this charade. It is a further abomination that respected organizations like Amnesty International have sullied their honor by becoming thoughtless agitators for a man so ill-deserving of their support.
"Anyone who cares to look beyond the outrageous ravings of soapbox extremists can access the well-established facts of Reginald Clemons's irrefutable guilt. Police records and trial transcripts reveal abundance evidence, and are easily accessible public record. We encourage people to read them, in search of truth.
"To those who cry foul because of the demographics of this crime, we remind you that Antonio Richardson, one of the two minor-aged perpetrators, was offered the same deal as the sole white defendant and other minor, Daniel Winfrey. It was Richardson's choice to turn that deal down. To omit that fact in the public discourse is dishonest. Further, we urge caution with regards to the discussion of race. Are Julie and Robin Kerry, who had Puerto Rican and Lebanese heritage, and worked tirelessly for equality among all people, any less deserving of justice because of the color of their skin?
"To those who would suggest that Tom Cummins is guilty of murdering his cousins, his best friends: shame on you. Tom has suffered twenty-one years of horror and injustice at the hands of the very man who attempted to murder him. Tom's only crime was surviving when he was supposed to die.To pretend that Tom's so-called 'confession,' which was no more than a single desperate utterance of 'believe whatever you want' at a moment of abject despair, is somehow comparable to the recorded, signed, fully-realized actual confessions of all four perpetrators, is absurd. Contrary to recent fabrications in the media, Tom's story did not change during his time in custody, despite the unspeakable trauma and effects of extreme sleep deprivation he suffered throughout his ordeal. What did continually change, were the suppositions manufactured by the St. Louis City Police Department, in which Tom was cast as a suspect. Tom did not create, or confess to, any of those absurd, ugly theories. We also remember that all four of the offenders' confessions, obtained individually and without any collective knowledge, corroborated Tom's story. To pretend that some alleged police brutality could produce four identical confessions, from four individual suspects, in four separate interviews, conducted by a variety of interrogators, is senseless.
"To the matter of DNA: we remind you that, because of the monstrous actions of Reginald Clemons, our family never recovered the body of his rape victim, our beloved sister Robin Kerry. Julie's body was found many weeks after the crime, hundreds of miles downriver and of course there was no remaining DNA evidence to be found. Any suggestion that a "rape kit" conducted on her remains should exonerate Mr. Clemons or his cohorts is ludicrous.
"In closing, we pause to remember the kind of people Julie and Robin Kerry were, before they were taken from us. They were intelligent, progressive, passionate forward-thinkers. They were active supporters of Amnesty International, and that organization has utterly and disgracefully betrayed Julie and Robin by willfully misleading the public about the facts of their brutal murder. Amnesty International has trounced the memory of two of their most ardent soldiers, and for that, they should feel deeply ashamed.
"It is important to hold a reasonable and intelligent public discourse about the morality and future of capital punishment in our society. But Mr. Clemons's indisputable guilt should have no bearing on that discourse. It is difficult to participate in these public discussions, to open our private grief to public scrutiny. But ultimately, we are armed with the Insurmountable Truth, and if we do not stand up and shout that Truth aloud, then we become culpable in the cycle of willful amnesia.
"Mr. Clemons knows what he did. And we cannot allow him to impugn the integrity of Tom Cummins any longer, or to disparage the good names of Nels Moss and others who worked to bring these men to justice. We will not allow him to mock the memory of the two beautiful young women whose blood is on his hands.
Sheila Cummins Oliveri
Patti Cummins Southerland
Danielle Thess Lucarelli
Kelly Thess Van Sciever"