News 4 Investigates: St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office homicide conviction rate 50% in last 6 months

Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 4:25 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - There’s new data showing that the office of City Prosecutor Kim Gardner is losing a significant number of their recent murder trials.

In the last six months, the Circuit Attorney’s Office has tried 20 murder cases.

Of those, they’ve secured guilty as charged on the murders in five.

Five more ended with a lesser homicide charge, for a total of around a 50% homicide conviction rate in the last six months.

In that same time frame, according to our research, St Louis County had five homicide trials and St. Charles County had three.

Each had a 100% conviction rate.

“The first thing that jumped out is the acquittals or not guilty on the murders,” said former Chief Warrant Officer for the Circuit Attorney’s Office Ed Postawko.

We provided the list to Postawko. He says it’s a high number of not-guilty verdicts.

“For that to happen consistently, there’s a breakdown somewhere,” he said.

That’s because he says for a case to go all the way to trial, prosecutors should feel confident they’ve got the evidence to prove it.

“If you don’t have the evidence for Murder in the First Degree, ethically you should not be pursuing a murder first,” he said.

He says while each individual case is different, experienced and qualified prosecutors will know how to navigate.

News 4 investigates has previously reported on lack of long-time prosecutors in the office.

“You have to communicate, you have to answer their questions, you have to make sure they understand what is going on,” Postawko said.

We asked a Circuit Attorney’s Office spokesperson for a comment about this data, and so far, we have not heard back.