ST. LOUIS — Mark and Patricia McCloskey altered the pistol she pointed at protesters during a now-infamous confrontation in front of their Central West End home to “impair and obstruct” her prosecution, prosecutors alleged in court documents obtained exclusively by 5 On Your Side.
Prosecutors with Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office made the allegation against the couple in grand jury indictments.
Prosecutors allege Mark and Patricia McCloskey “altered a Bryco Arms semi-automatic pistol with the purpose to impair its verity in the investigation of an unlawful use of a weapon that occurred on June 28 on Portland Place, an official investigation, and thereby impaired the obstructed the prosecution of Patricia McCloskey for the crime of unlawful use of a weapon,” according to the indictment.
Patricia McCloskey’s pistol has been a source of controversy surrounding the evidence in this case.
Missouri law requires prosecutors to prove the gun was operable and “readily capable of lethal use,” when it was used during the commission of an alleged crime.
The McCloskeys — who are attorneys — told police the pistol was inoperable when officers seized it because Patricia McCloskey had used it as a prop at a trial against a gun manufacturer.
Crime lab workers wrote that the gun was inoperable when it arrived at the lab, and Gardner’s Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered them to fix the gun so it could fire, according to documents obtained by 5 On Your Side in July.
McCloskeys' attorney, Joel Schwartz, said: "The only entity that can be proven to have tampered with the evidence is the state through the Circuit Attorney's Office."
Mark and Patricia McCloskey have become household names ever since photos and videos of them during a June 28 confrontation in front of their house went viral.
Gardner’s office charged each of the McCloskeys with unlawful use of a weapon — felonies — and presented the case to a grand jury.
That jury indicted the McCloskeys on the weapon charges but added tampering with evidence — another felony — Tuesday after determining prosecutors have enough evidence on both charges to proceed to a trial.
Both charges are class E felonies -- the least serious felony classification -- but are punishable by up to four years in prison.
The grand jury's indictments were suppressed Tuesday — an unusual move experts say is typically reserved for flight risks or dangerous fugitives — without explanation.
A motion filed by prosecutors Wednesday suggests they sought to suppress the indictments because of safety concerns for the witnesses.
“Given the international attention this matter has generated, and the violence and vitriol directed towards the Circuit Attorney’s Office for the prosecution of this case, the witnesses were understandably reluctant to cooperate and did so with the understanding that the Grand Jury proceedings, and their testimony therein, would remain confidential,” according to the motion Assistant Circuit Attorney Eusef Robin Huq wrote. “Requiring the witness’ full, unredacted names to be disclosed has a chilling effect on witness’ and victims’ participation in the criminal justice system.”
Judge Rex Burlison granted the prosecutors’ motion late Thursday, so the indictments contain only the initials of the 16 witnesses who testified before the grand jury.
Schwartz took issue with the names of the witnesses being kept secret, too.
"These people committed crimes and I don't understand the reason why these people's names should remain sealed while my clients, the McCloskeys names, have been plastered all over every newspaper and TV station in the country," he said.
Should the case proceed to trial, however, the witnesses could be called to testify in open court where they will have to reveal their identities.
There is no bond set against the McCloskeys because a criminal summons has been issued to them to appear in court.
The McCloskeys are scheduled to appear in court Oct. 14, where they will most likely be arraigned and enter a plea.
You can read the full indictment and the motion to suppress below.