June 1, 2009
Governor Jay Nixon
201 West Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101-1556
Dear Governor Nixon:
My name is Sister Helen Prejean. I am a Catholic religious sister, one of the Congregation of St. Joseph. For the last 27 years of my life, I have worked with and advocated on behalf of families of homicide victims and inmates sentenced to death. I have recounted some of these experiences in my books Dead Man Walking and Death of Innocents.
I have recently learned that Reggie Clemons is scheduled to be executed on June 17, and I write to ask that you exercise mercy and grant clemency in this case. I learned of this case many years ago and have always been troubled by the many disturbing issues it raises. As you are aware, he received a sentence of death even though the prosecution never proved that he was directly responsible for the death of either woman, after a trial that was marred by prosecutorial misconduct, hampered by grievously ineffective defense counsel and tainted by police brutality.
It is very troubling that the State of Missouri would act to execute a man who it has never contended caused the tragic deaths of those young women. It is equally troubling that it would execute an accomplice while sentencing another person to life imprisonment for the same events. And it is unconscionable that it would do so while denying Reggie Clemons the opportunity to present his case to a court without the flaws and omissions brought about by incompetent lawyers and an overzealous prosecutor whose conduct was so outrageous that he was sanctioned by the court.
On a personal level, I know of the devastating impact that this case has had on the Clemons family since I have been fortunate to have met Reggie’s parents, Pastor Thomas and his wife Vera during my travels. They are upstanding citizens who have devoted the last eighteen years of their lives trying to save their son’s life. I pray that you will grant them that wish.
I urge you to intervene in Reggie’s case. It cries out for your intervention. When the system of justice allows so many issues to go without redress, it is your responsibility to uphold the integrity of that system by exercising the extraordinary power of clemency, which only you can do. Mistakes that are made in capital cases can never be made right after the sentence is carried out. I ask that you correct the potentially fatal flaws in this case by commuting the sentence of Reggie Clemons.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
Sr. Helen Prejean, c.s.j.
Call Governor Jay Nixon at 573-751-3222!
(insist on the clemency of Reggie Clemons)