Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple charged in July with brandishing weapons at rioters who broke into their gated community, have been indicted by a grand jury.
The McCloskey’s were indicted Tuesday on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, according to their attorney Al Watkins, Fox News reports.
The couple contends that in June, 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.
Watkins accused the prosecutors of tampering with the pistol by assembling it in a way that it could be fired.
“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.”
The couple appeared in court Tuesday for a status hearing before the grand jury rendered the decision. The hearing was postponed until next week, at which time, Schwartz said, the McCloskeys will enter a not-guilty plea.
Outside the Carnahan Courthouse, Mark McCloskey criticized the City Counselor’s Office for opting against prosecuting protesters for trespassing and that he and his wife are being “persecuted.”
“What you are witnessing here is just an opportunity for the government, the leftist, democrat government of the City of St. Louis to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our Second Amendment rights,” McCloskey said.
“Every single human being that was in front of my house was a criminal trespasser. 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,” McCloskey added.
Nine protesters were initially served police summonses, but City Counselor Michael Garvin said on Sept. 29 that trespassing charges would not be pursued.
A judge set the next court date for Oct. 14th, but that is likely to change in light of the grand jury indictment.
Gov. Mike Parson (R) has said he’ll pardon the couple if they are convicted; Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a motion to dismiss the case.