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St. Louis grand jury indicts McCloskeys on gun charges, tampering with evidence

The Central West End couple made international headlines after photos of them pointing guns at protesters went viral.

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Mark and Patricia McCloskey on two counts each: exhibiting a weapon and tampering with evidence.

The couple appeared before a judge Tuesday, who continued their hearing until Oct. 14, saying the grand jury needed more time to deliberate.

The couple’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, said he was told the grand jury reached a decision to indict his clients Tuesday afternoon. Their cases have been assigned to judges Michael Stelzer and Thomas Clark. 

The next step will be arraignments, where the McCloskeys will enter a plea to the charges issued against them. 

The indictment means prosecutors convinced a grand jury they have enough evidence against the McCloskeys to proceed to trial.

Gov. Mike Parson has said he would pardon the McCloskeys should they be convicted.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner originally issued charges against them for unlawful use of a weapon – a felony.

The grand jury added the charge of tampering with evidence. Only prosecutors are allowed to present evidence to grand juries, and they are secret proceedings.

Gardner’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment, so it’s unclear what is at the center of that charge.

Patricia McCloskey told police the handgun she used during the June 28 confrontation was inoperable because she had used it as a prop during a trial against a gun manufacturer.

5 On Your Side obtained documents showing Gardner’s Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered crime lab workers to fix the gun so it could be fired.

A key component of Missouri law states that a gun must be “readily capable of lethal use” in order for someone to be charged with the crime. Hinckley signed the court document, known as the complaint, saying the weapon was capable of lethal use.

5 On Your Side reported about the tension between the lead detective on the case, Sgt. Curtis Burgdorf, and Hinckley over the wording of the court document known as the probable cause statement. Burgdorf sent a list of multiple concerns he had with the way Hinckley wrote the document and refused to sign it until the concerns were addressed.

5 On Your Side has learned Burgdorf was not among the witnesses prosecutors called to testify before the grand jury, but some of the protesters accused of trespassing on the McCloskeys’ property during the confrontation did testify.

City attorneys for St. Louis refused to charge nine protesters who were ticketed for trespassing after members of the Portland Place trustees said they did not want to press charges against them.

Following Tuesday’s hearing, the McCloskeys’ attorney said his clients own the sidewalk in front of their home and that they, and other members of the homeowner’s association were never subpoenaed by the city.

“They absolutely would have liked to press charges,” Schwartz said of his clients.

This is a breaking story, check back for updates.

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