Marlin Gray was executed on this day in 2005 for his part in the assault and murder of the two girls. A 20-year-old by the name of Julie Kerry and her sister Robin, who was a year younger, had a midnight rendezvous with their cousin Thomas Cummins up by the Chain of Rocks Bridge in Missouri to show him their graffiti handiwork.
But, instead the unsuspecting trio ran into a bunch of men high on drugs, led by Marlin Gray.
Leap of faith
The two girls were stripped and held down by other members of the group, who then took it in turns to rape them. Their cousin was stripped of his wallet, watch, money and keys and they were forced onto the bridge, where they pushed the two girls over. They then told Cummins to jump.
Figuring he had a better chance of surviving if he jumped, Cummins leapt into the abyss. He survived to find Julie still alive. But the fast-flowing river claimed the young girl’s life. Her sister Robin was never found, but Julie’s body washed up three weeks later in the Mississippi.
Cummins miraculously survived the 50 to 70ft drop and was able to testify at the gang’s trial. Marlin Gray, Reginald Clemons, Antonio Richardson and Daniel Winfrey were all had up on charges of rape and murder.
Of course, the four men were found guilty as charged. The youngest, Winfrey, who was 15 at the time of the crime, got a 30-year stretch. Richardson originally got the death penalty but because a judge had doled out the sentence rather than a jury, it was reduced to life. The other two got the death penalty.
To this day, Clemons awaits his fate on death row, and actor Danny Glover has even spoken out in his defence.
However, the waiting game ended in 2005 for 38-year-old ringleader, Gray who got a terminal dose of lethal toxins in Missouri. He apparently mouthed ‘I love you’ to the audience as the gurney stood ready to let drip, according to a report by the ‘St Louis Post’, but his last recorded words were ‘this is not a death, it’s a lynching’.