Missouri Supreme Court tosses out man’s murder convictions, death sentence

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Reginald Clemons' mugshot from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned the first-degree murder convictions and the death sentence for one of four men convicted of raping two sisters and throwing them to their death from an abandoned Mississippi River bridge in St. Louis 24 years ago.

The court’s 4-3 ruling on Tuesday sends Reginald Clemons’ case back to circuit court, and gives the state 60 days to either seek a retrial or allow charges to be dismissed.

The Supreme Court declined to overturn a ruling by a “special master” it appointed who determined that prosecutors suppressed evidence about detectives beating Clemons into confession. Clemons also is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2007 to an act of prison violence.

A message seeking comment from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office wasn’t immediately returned.