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St. Louis couple seen pointing guns at protesters appear in court Monday

The McCloskeys are facing a charge of unlawful use of a weapon for aiming guns toward protesters back in June

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis couple who aimed guns toward protesters and were subsequently charged had their first appearance in court Monday.

Mark and Patricia McCloskey are facing a charge of unlawful use of a weapon. The charge is a class E felony, which can carry a sentence of up to four years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said the McCloskeys had their first appearance Monday morning, and their cases were continued until Oct. 6. 

The couple's attorney, Joel Schwartz, sent 5 On Your Side a one-line statement regarding Monday's court appearance.

"We are looking forward to having these allegations litigated in a courtroom," Schwartz said in an email.

A spokesman for the 22nd Judicial Court in St. Louis previously told 5 On Your Side the hearing would likely be a routine docket-setting session that should only last a few minutes.

Credit: UPI
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who gained national media attention when they aimed guns at Black Lives Matters protesters in June outside their home, leave court after an appearance on felony weapons charges, in St. Louis on Monday August 31, 2020. The McClosky's will return on October 6, 2020, for their trial. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

On June 28, the Central West End couple confronted protesters in front of their home with a rifle and gun. Nearly a month later on July 20, Gardner filed charges against the couple.

In a statement announcing the charges, Gardner said the McCloskeys waved their weapons in a "threatening manner" at "peaceful, unarmed protesters."

"It is illegal to wave weapons in a threatening manner at those participating in a nonviolent protest, and while we are fortunate this situation did not escalate into deadly force, this type of conduct is unacceptable in St. Louis," she wrote. "The decision to issue charges was made after a thorough investigation with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department."

The charges drew criticism from St. Louis all the way to the White House. The president’s press secretary said President Donald Trump believes St. Louis’ top prosecutor committed an “egregious abuse of power” in charging the couple.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson called the charges “outrageous.” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a brief in the case of Mark and Patricia McCloskey supporting the Castle Doctrine law and seeking dismissal of the charges filed against the couple Monday evening.

“The right to keep and bear arms is given the highest level of protection in our constitution and our laws, including the Castle Doctrine. This provides broad rights to Missourians who are protecting their property and lives from those who wish to do them harm,” said Schmitt.

READ MORE: What the 'Castle Doctrine' means in Missouri

Mark McCloskey defended their actions the day after the incident in an interview with 5 On Your Side.

“We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog's life being threatened. It was, it was about as bad as it can get,” McCloskey said.

RELATED: 'The only thing that stopped the crowd was my rifle' | Interview with man who pulled out gun amid protest

Last week, the McCloskeys took their message to the national stage again with a speech during the Republican National Convention.

"America is such a great country that you not only have the right to own a gun and use it to defend yourself, but thousands of Americans will offer you free advice on how to use it. At least that’s what we experienced," Patricia said. 

"Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime. But you know who was? We were. They’ve actually charged us with a felony for daring to defend our home," Mark said.

RELATED: Couple seen brandishing guns outside St. Louis home speak at Republican National Convention

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