The last time a man was executed in Missouri was May 2009, and now Richard Clay is set to break the streak in little more than a week. So with the Jan. 12 date looming, his family and supporters have started their last efforts to keep Clay from the executioner with a press conference begging for clemency yesterday in Jefferson City.
Clay was convicted in 1995 of killing Bootheel car dealer Randy Martin, but the conviction was thrown out by a federal judge in 2001. After a new trial in 2004, an appeals court reinstated Clay's conviction and death sentence.
Clay's case happens to be one of seven in which questions were raised about the conduct of one-time statewide prosecutor and former U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, whose tenure as prosecutor was marked by accusations of withholding evidence and shady dealings. One of the victims of Hulshof's sleazy practices was Josh Kezer, released in 2009 after 16 years in prison on a second-degree murder conviction when a judge found that key evidence was withheld in his case. Check out The Kansas City Star for a comprehensive write-up of Hulshof's misdeeds and how they relate to Clay's case.
Kezer himself showed up on Clay's behalf today, telling reporters that his own release meant nothing if Clay was going to die. However, former New Madrid County prosecutor Riley Bock argues that he led the case, taking only general guidance from Hulshof.
No decision has been announced by Nixon, whose office tells the press that he's still making a full review of the case.