Strong reaction in the Heartland to overturned murder conviction, KFVS 12 Cape Girardeau, 01.10.2013
There is strong reaction in the Heartland to the overturned murder conviction of Mark Woodworth.Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled prosecutors failed to share evidence that could have helped Woodworth's case. He was accused of killing his neighbor in Chillicothe in 1990. This case has an interesting connection to several big Heartland cases. It is the fourth case since 2009 where a Missouri court found flaws with a murder conviction, all involving a common prosecutor - Kenny Hulshof. One of those is the New Madrid County case of Richard Clay. Governor Nixon took clay off death row just hours from his execution. Now Clay's family says Woodworth's case gives them momentum as their case moves closer to a new investigation."Every guy that goes to prison they says ‘I'm innocent,' but some of those guys are really innocent. They just don't have the help," said Joyce Cox, Clay's mother. "One day I hope to see my son walk thru that door and no guard say don't touch him."
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Jay Nixon's decision on death penalty case out of character, St. Louis Post Dispatch 01.12.2011
As attorney general, Jay Nixon once referred to a death row inmate's appeals as "total hokum." In another death penalty case, he said his office was moving ahead with "grim determination." In 1996, on the eve of the state's execution of Emmett C. Nave, who murdered his landlady in the capital city, Nixon said: "The jury made a tough call, and it's time to get the job done." But Nixon, who is now governor, took a different approach this week. On Monday, Nixon spared Richard Clay from the executioner while maintaining his belief that Clay was guilty of the 1994 murder-for-hire of Randy Martindale in Missouri's Bootheel. Nixon's decision — delivered with almost no explanation — has political observers in Missouri wondering if the perspective from the governor's mansion has altered Nixon's thinking ... "Without any clear statement from the governor, it opens up a Pandora's box of speculation," Connor said. "He doesn't really explain in any detail why he's commuting the sentence from death to life."
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Nixon Discusses Commuting Death Sentence, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 01.14.2011
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The Star’s editorial | Halt next Missouri execution, 01.05.2011
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Thursday his decision to commute the death sentence of a convicted murderer was based on factors specific to the case and does not indicate a softening of his support of the death penalty. With almost no explanation, Nixon on Monday spared the life of Richard Clay, even though the governor said he still considered Clay guilty of the 1994 murder-for-hire of Randy Martindale in Missouri's Bootheel. At a news conference Thursday at Forest Park Community College, Nixon, a staunch death penalty advocate, said a "number of factors" contributed to his decision. Among those were the "involvement of a number of folks'' and a court system that "had some issues," with the case, he said. He offered little elaboration. He said most of the concerns about the case had been reported by the media.
- Jay Nixon was unflinching in his support of capital punishment during his 16 years as Missouri’s attorney general. Under his watch, 59 prisoners were put to death. But now, as governor, Nixon must assume a different role. Governors, the late U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote, are the “fail safe” in the criminal justice system. “It is an unalterable fact that our judicial system, like the human beings who administer it, is fallible,” Rehnquist wrote in Herrera v. Collins. “But history is replete with examples of wrongfully convicted persons who have been pardoned … after discovered evidence establishing their innocence.” With the execution of Richard Clay scheduled for Jan. 12, death penalty opponents are asking Nixon to be the fail safe. It is a proper request. Enough questions have been raised about Clay’s guilt to merit a stay of execution and a formal inquiry. Read Entire Editorial
Mo. death penalty foes seek Nixon intervention, KFVS 12 Cape Girardeau, 01.04.2011
- Death penalty opponents and the attorney for a man convicted of a 1994 murder-for-hire plot are asking Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to stop what would be the first execution in the state in nearly two years. Richard Clay, 45, is scheduled to die on Jan. 12. Clay was convicted of first-degree murder in the New Madrid shooting death of Randy Martindale. Prosecutors say Clay killed the victim at the request of Martindale's wife, who was having an affair with a friend of Clay's. Clay's lawyers, Randy Martindale's best friend, and Clay's son made a public appeal Tuesday in Jefferson City asking Gov. Nixon and the Missouri Supreme Court to grant clemency to Richard Clay. "How can they not stop this?," Defense attorney, Jennifer Herndon said before a crowd of family members, and other supporters in Jefferson City. Read Full Article
Man slated for execution receives unexpected boon, St. Louis Post Dispatch, 01.04.2011
- A convicted murderer on death row, who is seeking clemency from the governor and a stay of execution from the Supreme Court, received an unexpected boon today from a man who knows what a wrongful conviction feels like. Richard Clay, who is set to die on Jan. 12, was sentenced to death for the 1994 for-hire murder of Randy Martindale in Missouri's Bootheel. Clay's execution would be just the second in the state since 2006, when executions were put on hold by court order, and the first since 2009. Read Full Article
Doubt Clouds Murder Case , Columbia Daily Tribune, 12/26/2010
- ABSTRACT Josh Kezer. Dale Helmig. Richard Clay. These three men collectively spent nearly five decades incarcerated for unrelated murders they steadfastly insisted they did not commit. Kezer was set free in February 2009 after Judge Richard Callahan ruled he was factually innocent. On Dec. 13, Helmig was freed on bond after DeKalb County Judge Warren McElwain overturned his conviction last month, writing, “There is clear and convincing evidence of (his) innocence.” As for Clay, Missouri officials announced, oddly on Dec. 10 — internationally recognized as Human Rights Day — their plans to execute him just after midnight on Jan. 12 in spite of strong claims he was wrongly convicted. Read Full Article
Family speaks out for loved one on death row, KFVS-TV, By Holly Brantley - ABSTRACT For the first time, the family of a man on Missouri's death row speaks out just two weeks before his scheduled execution date. Much of the Heartland remembers Richard Clay in images from the day he was arrested in New Madrid in 1994. In September of 1995, he was convicted in the murder of Randy Martindale. Prosecutors said Clay was paid by Martindale's wife to kill her husband. But, Clay's lawyer says he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. "He is a wonderful son," said his mother, Joyce Cox. "He is innocent. In his heart he knows he's innocent." Watch Video and Read Story Text