CLAYTON, Mo. — The second weapon associated with the Central West End couple who pulled guns on protesters on June 28 was handed over on Saturday afternoon.
Attorney Al Watkins handed over the handgun to police outside his office in Clayton. Patricia McCloskey was pictured pulling that handgun on protesters during the June 28 incident.
Police executed a search warrant at the McCloskey home on Friday, and took the rifle Mark McCloskey was seen holding in the photos.
Watkins said that he was no longer the counsel of record for the McCloskeys with the circuit attorney's office, and that the criminal defense work would now be led by Joel Schwartz if any charges were brought.
He, too, is accustomed to cameras making national news with an overturned murder case. Russell Faria was once sentenced to life for his wife's murder. Schwartz retried his case and Faria was acquitted.
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Watkins said his role as counsel was compromised as he had become a potential witness in the case for keeping the handgun and handing it over to police.
"It was my duty and obligation to make sure that evidence was preserved to maintain the integrity of the defense of Mr. and/or Mrs. McCloskey in the event, in the what I believe the highly unlikely event, of any charges being brought," Watkins said.
As for why he only kept the handgun in his possession, Watkins had this to say:
"The rifle is not one I was concerned about because the rifle was, not flourished and not held in a fashion inconsistent with what Mr. McCloskey lawfully could have done in the produce department at any Schnucks. This gun (the handgun), which was not operable, and was being handled by Mrs. McCloskey, was clearly being handled in a fashion inconsistent with anyone with any sort of gun or weapon training," Watkins said. "So the importance of having the integrity of the inoperable nature of this weapon was important given the elements of any potential crimes which may in your wildest imagination arise out of the situation which occurred on June 28 in the front yard and on the private property of the McCloskeys and Portland Place."
Watkins said the gun Patricia McCloskey was shown holding was not operable, and the inoperable nature of the weapon "significantly preceded" the date of the incident on June 28. He also said Patricia McCloskey knew the handgun was inoperable.
It's unclear if the rifle was inoperable or not.
5 On Your Side is not aware of any charges against the McCloskeys at this time, and the warrant served Friday evening was just for the guns.
Schwartz told 5 On Your Side Friday night he does not believe charges are warranted against the McCloskeys and that he hopes to meet with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office next week, but that there is no official appointment at this time.
"I would say the McCloskeys are in good hands with Mr. Schwartz," SLU Law professor John Ammann says.
Ammann explains this case must be seen as separate criminal issues and to look at the guns separately.
"You can't make generalizations because the two of them did different things with different guns," he explains.
He also says, Mark McCloskey could still face criminal charges, even if he didn't point the gun. If that gun worked and was loaded, it could lead to more serious charges.
Ammann adds, if charged and prosecuted, the McCloskeys may only see probation or community service.
"There's very little likelihood that the McCloskeys would see any jail time or prison time on these kind of charges," Ammann says.
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