ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The handgun held by Patricia McCloskey at her home in the Central West End was not capable of firing when seized by police, according to a document obtained by News 4.
It’s a new development in the case against the local couple seen pointing guns outside their Central West End home last month. And it’s one that legal experts say raises very serious questions about whether the entire case can proceed.
The document was sent to News 4 anonymously, but it appears to be the lab report from the firearms analysis in the case.
It shows that two firearms were taken to the lab for testing. Both were taken into custody by St. Louis police in a search warrant executed on July 10.
The first, the rifle which Mark McCloskey was seen holding outside his home on June 28, as protesters marched through the Central West End and came through a gate on the private street.
According to the lab, it fired when tested.
But the gun Patricia McCloskey had, a small handgun, examiners say, could not be test-fired as submitted.
At the request of prosecutor Chris Hinkley, the report says, the firearm was stripped and found to have been assembled incorrectly. It was then re-assembled properly, test fired and functioned as designed. Charging documents said the gun was capable of lethal use.
“It would be disheartening to learn, if accurate, that the authorities tampered with evidence in order to bring charges against an innocent member of the community,” the McCloskey's attorney Joel Schwartz said. He declined to comment further. A previous attorney for the McCloskey's had indicated the gun had been rendered inoperable long before the incident because it had been used as an exhibit in previous lawsuits. That attorney, Al Watkins, had the gun in his possession for a short time, but turned it over to police.
Legal experts say that the law in Missouri is clear: In order for Patricia McCloskey to be guilty of exhibiting a weapon, which she was charged with Monday, the gun she had has to be readily capable of lethal use. If it was inoperable, some attorneys say she never should have been charged in the first place.
A spokesperson for the Circuit Attorney’s Office would not comment this Tuesday, saying it’s a pending case.