St. Louis lawyer couple who aimed guns at BLM protesters are indicted by grand jury
The lawyer couple who aimed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters marching past their home in a private St. Louis neighborhood have been indicted by a grand jury on felony weapon and evidence tampering charges.
The announcement came just hours after Mark and Patricia McCloskey attended a short hearing inside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis this morning.
The McCloskeys were both issued two charges each: exhibiting guns at protesters and for tampering with evidence.
Grand jurors found probable cause on both counts, the second of which involves Patricia McCloskey’s pistol, which was turned over to police in July, according to reports.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey attended a short hearing inside the Carnahan Courthouse this morning, in downtown St. Louis, where a judge announced the case was continued until October 14
Their attorney, Joel Schwartz, said the continuation of just eight days likely means that the grand jury decision is drawing near, possibly as early as next week
The McCloskeys, who are both lawyers, became the target of national media attention in the summer after they emerged from their $1.15 million mansion, in Portland Place, with guns on the night of June 28 when a procession of protesters veered onto their private street
During the earlier hearing, a judge delayed the case until October 14 because the grand jury had not yet rendered a decision on whether to indict them and needed more time to deliberate.
The decision was eventually made on Tuesday afternoon, according to the McCloskeys’ attorney, Joel Schwartz.
Schwartz had speculated earlier in the day that determination could be reached by next week.
The McCloskeys, who are both lawyers, became the target of national media attention when they emerged from their $1.15 million mansion with guns on June 28, after a procession of protesters veered onto Portland Place, a private street.
The couple said the demonstrators knocked down an iron gate and ignored a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, leaving them feeling threatened.
Mark, 63, came out wielding an AR-15 rifle and Patricia, 61, displayed a semiautomatic handgun, according to court records.
No shots were fired, but they were both later initially charged by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner with one count each of unlawful use of a weapon, a class E felony. The grand jury added the charge of tampering with evidence.
In announcing the originally charges in July, 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.’
While walking outside the courtroom Tuesday, the McCloskeys and Schwartz stopped to speak with reporters gathered outside.
Mark McCloskey said he and his wife are victims of ‘violent’ trespassers who he claims were shouting death threats and threats of rape against his wife.
He blamed the ‘left, Democrat government’ of the city for the charges and said he and his wife were ‘doing no more than exercising our Second Amendment rights.’
Mr McCloskey also criticized a recent decision made by the City Counselor’s Office to not prosecute a group of protesters who trespassed into Portland Place en route to Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home, who lives a few houses away from them.
‘The government chooses to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our right to defend ourselves, our home, our property and our family and now we’re getting [dragged] here time after time after time and for what?’ Mr. McCloskey said. ‘We didn’t fire a shot. People were violently protesting in front of our house and screaming death threats and threats of rape and threats of arson. Nobody gets charged but we get charged.’
While walking outside the courtroom Tuesday, the McCloskeys and Schwartz stopped to speak with reporters gathered outside
Mark McCloskey said he and his wife are victims of ‘violent’ trespassers who he claims were shouting death threats and threats of rape against his wife. He blamed the ‘left, Democrat government’ of the city for the charges and said he and his wife were ‘doing no more than exercising our Second Amendment rights.’
Mr McCloskey also criticized a recent decision made by the City Counselor’s Office to not prosecute the nine protesters who trespassed into Portland Place en route to Mayor Lynda Krewson’s home, who lives a few houses away from them
Sources told 5 On Your Side the grand jury met at least once to discuss the McCloskeys’ case.
Grand jurors reportedly heard testimony from several witnesses, including from the protesters whose trespassing charges were dismissed by attorneys for the city.
‘If there is a true bill returned for either Mr. or Mrs. McCloskey we will do everything we can to fight those charges,’ Schwartz assured reporters outside the court, before the indictment was announced.
The McCloskeys first appeared in court on August 31, where the judge continued their case until October 6.
The McCloskeys did not speak to reporters after that court hearing. Schwartz reiterated their claims that no laws were broken.
‘We are simply anxious to remove all the noise from this case, move the case forward, and have the facts heard by a jury and let the jury decide whether or not the McCloskeys committed any felony offenses because we are convinced with absolute certainty that there was no felony committed here,’ Schwartz said at the time.
The case drew the attention of leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who has expressed his support for the McCloskeys, as well as Missouri Governor Mike Parsons and other leading Republicans.
Trump considered the charges an ‘egregious abuse of power,’ his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, said.
Parsons, meanwhile, called the charges ‘outrageous’ and has said pledged to pardon the couple if they are convicted.
In August, the couple made an appearance during the opening night of the Republican National Convention in which they made the case that they had a ‘God-given right’ to defend themselves and their property.
The couple touted Trump’s defense of the Second Amendment and also warned Americans of the ‘mob’.
‘At this moment in history, if you stand up for yourself and for the values our country was founded on, the mob – spurred on by their allies in the media – will try to destroy you,’ Mark said as he sat beside his wife and addressed the camera in remote remarks.
Patricia McCloskey and her husband Mark McCloskey drew their firearms on protestors, including a man who held a video camera and microphone, as they entered their neighborhood during a protest against St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson
Patricia McCloskey described how protesters ‘broke an iron fence down’ before ‘trying to set fire to the mayor’s house’
Protesters gathered outside the home of Mark and Patricia McCloskey during a protest against racial inequality in St Louis, Missouri
Mark and Patricia McCloskey are seen confronting protesters marching to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house on June 28
The McCloskeys bemoaned the charges against them and warned others about the wider implications in an interview with Fox News ahead of their RNC appearance.
‘You cannot have freedom and an opportunity to advance unless you have basic safety and security, and that it is not just limited to big cities. They are bringing it to a neighborhood near you,’ Mark told the outlet.
Patricia added: ‘You think you have a right to defend yourself and your family and it’s shocking that we are still having the fallout. We have years of this following us.’
She described how protesters ‘broke an iron fence down’ before ‘trying to set fire to the mayor’s house’.
Around 300 protesters gathered outfront of their home on June 28.
The couple, who met when they were at Southern Methodist University law school, moved into the palazzo at One Portland Place having filed a lawsuit in 1988 to obtain the property.
They sued a man who sold them a Maserati they claimed was supposed to come with a box of hard-to-find parts, the paper reported.
In November 1996, Mark McCloskey filed two lawsuits, one against a dog breeder whom he said sold him a German Shepherd without papers and the other against the Central West End Association for using a photo of their house in a brochure for a house tour after the McCloskeys had told them not to.
For years the couple have been at war over the rights to a small patch of land bordering their property.
The McCloskeys, according to the paper, have also constantly sought to force their neighborhood trustees to maintain the exclusivity of Portland Place.
They accused the trustees of selectively enforcing the written rules for living in the neighborhood, known as the trust agreement, and in particular failing to enforce a rule about unmarried couples living together.
Their insistence was seen as an attempt to force gay couples from the community.
The $1.15 million home of the McCluskey’s is seen above.
The case drew the attention of leading Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who has expressed his support for the McCloskeys, as well as Missouri Governor Mike Parsons and other leading Republicans
The trustees voted to impeach Patricia as a trustee in 1992 when she fought an effort to change the trust indenture, accusing her of being anti-gay.
In 2002, the Portland Place Association sued to foreclose on the McCloskeys’ house because they were refusing to pay dues.
On a second property, in Franklin County, the couple had disputes with their neighbors over a gravel path, and sued for squatters rights to a section of land.
The McCloskeys also evicted two tenants from a modular home on their property in a period of just over two years.
He sued his employers for wrongful dismissal, and then turned on his own family, in particular after his father largely wrote him out of the will in 2008, sparking a family feud that would last eight years.
Mark filed a defamation case against his father and sister in 2011, dismissed it in 2012, and refiled it in 2013. By the time of the final filing, Bruce McCloskey was living in a memory care unit in Ballwin; he died in 2014.
In March 2013 McCloskey sued his father and his father’s trust over a gift of five acres, promised in 1976, which never materialized.
A judge ruled against him in 2016.