Fox News reports Mark and Patricia McCloskey have been indicted by a grand jury.
The charges related to an incident that occurred in June, when hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters marched onto a private street the McCloskeys live on. The McCloskeys went outside to confront the protesters. Mark McCloskey had an AR-15 rifle, while Patricia McCloskey had a semiautomatic pistol.
The couple contends that protesters broke through an iron gate, ignored a “No Trespassing” sign, and screamed threats of arson and rape at them, while protest leaders say that the march was peaceful and no threats were made.
Nine of the protesters were cited for trespassing a few weeks back, but the prosecutor dropped those charges despite the fact that video evidence clearly placed the protesters on private property.
The McCloskeys’ attorney, Al Watkins, minced no words in his reaction to the indictment.
“This is b——t,” Watkins told Fox News. “Hate to say it, but the state has a lot of problems with this one. And they transcend not just the evidence, but they actually are remarkably problematic from the standpoint of prosecutorial misconduct.”
Watkins is referring to evidence that the prosecutors may have altered at least one of the two firearms the McCloskeys used that day. It was reportedly an inoperable prop used in a trial, incapable of firing. PJM reported on this back in July.
At the request of Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley, crime lab staff members field stripped the handgun and found it had been assembled incorrectly. Specifically, the firing pin spring was put in front of the firing pin, which was backward, and made the gun incapable of firing, according to the documents.
Firearms experts then put the gun back together, per Hinckley’s request, in the correct order and test-fired it, finding that it worked, according to the documents.
Crime lab workers photographed the disassembly and reassembly of the gun, according to the documents.
If all of that is true, it will come out in discovery and it would likely render the case moot. Missouri is a strong castle law state, allowing residents to defend their property with deadly force and with no demand to retreat. The law under which they have presumably been indicted mandates that the weapon used must be capable of rendering deadly force. The handgun, if the crime lab had to reassemble it as described above, was reportedly not capable of firing.
The grand jury heard one side of what happened with regard to that firearm, as the grand jury process does not include any exculpatory evidence or cross-examination, and based on the prosecutor’s word, also indicted them for “tampering with evidence.” Someone evidently tampered with it, the question is who.
This case is far from over. Both Missouri’s governor and attorney general have stated they would overturn it in one way or another. Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) has moved to drop the charges, and Gov. Mike Parson (R) has promised them a pardon.
There may be no clearer case of partisan prosecution in the United States at the moment. The Missouri castle law is clear. The riots had already turned deadly by the date of the incident, which occurred on their private property. Just a few blocks away from where this incident happened, a protest flashed into a rioting mob that murdered retired police captain David Dorn. The McCloskeys had reason to fear for their lives that day. On the flip side, the protesters were clearly on private property they had no right to be on. Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Soros-funded Democrat, has dropped the charges against the nine protesters who were cited for trespassing while pursuing charges against the McCloskeys.