By JIM SALTER Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis couple facing felony charges for pointing guns at racial injustice protesters will be back in court next week, and their attorney expects a grand jury decision by then on whether they’ll face indictment.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey appeared in court for a brief hearing Tuesday, where a judge announced the case was continued until Oct. 14.
Afterward, their attorney, Joel Schwartz, said the continuation of just eight days likely means that the grand jury decision is drawing near. He declined to speculate on whether the grand jury will indict.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner charged the couple, both of them lawyers, with unlawful use of a weapon for the incident that occurred in June in their well-to-do neighborhood. Protesters marched onto the private street and were outside the McCloskey’s $1.15 million home when the couple emerged with guns — he had an an AR-15 rifle, she had a semiautomatic handgun.
The McCloskeys, who are both lawyers in their early 60s, said the demonstrators broke through an iron gate, ignored a “No Trespassing” sign and some made threatening comments. Protest leaders say the marchers were peaceful and did not break the gate.
Gardner said the guns created the risk of bloodshed. A police probable cause statement said protesters feared “being injured due to Patricia McCloskey’s finger being on the trigger, coupled with her excited demeanor.”
The case drew the attention of leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who has expressed his support for the McCloskeys. Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he will pardon them if they are convicted. The couple spoke via video on the opening night of the Republican National Convention.
Nine people involved in the protest were charged with misdemeanor trespassing, but the city counselor’s office later dropped the charges. The city counselor’s office handles lesser crimes and is not affiliated with the circuit attorney’s office.
Mark McCloskey, after the hearing, expressed outrage that he and his wife are being charged when the protesters are not, criticizing “the leftist Democrat government of the city of St. Louis.”
“Every single human being that was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser,” McCloskey said. “They broke down our gate. They trespassed on our property. Not a single one of those people is now charged with anything. We’re charged with felonies that could cost us four years of our lives and our law licenses.”
Protesters on June 28 were marching to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson, who lives a few block from the McCloskeys, when they decided to veer onto the private street. The protest was among hundreds nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.