Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DNA testing delays Clemons hearing

Attorneys for condemned man claim newly presented evidence justifies new trial

By Chris King

Of The St. Louis American

May 10, 2010 will no longer be a day of reckoning in the Reginald Clemons case, as DNA testing of newly presented evidence has forced a delay in the case plan laid out by the special master appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Today Judge Michael Manners, the special master in the Clemons case, reported to Clemons’ counsel, the Missouri Attorney General and the Missouri Supreme Court that a new hearing date would be scheduled after a teleconference with attorneys on April 13.

Manners had been informed on March 25 that Clemons’ attorneys and the State had reached an agreement to submit the new evidence to DNA testing.

Joshua A. Levine, one of Clemons’ attorneys, wrote to Manners that “we are confident that further testing will only serve to confirm what is already established: no physical evidence connects [Clemons] to the crimes.”

In 1993 Clemons was convicted as an accomplice in the murders of Julie Kerry and Robin Kerry. Two days after his interrogation by St. Louis police, after being sent to the hospital for treatment of injuries, Clemons filed a complaint that he had been denied the rights to silence and counsel during his interrogation. He also claimed that his confession was coerced and scripted after an hour and half of beatings.

In this allegedly coerced and scripted confession, he said he raped Robin Kerry but not Julie Kerry. He never confessed to murder, and he has never been tried nor convicted of rape. However, the charge of rape was used as a “sentence enhancer” by prosecutor Nels C. Moss in his successful push for the death penalty.

The newly presented evidence includes a rape kit taken from the corpse identified as Julie Kerry. Robin Kerry’s body never was found.

Also in the newly presented evidence: a condom, clothing that purportedly belonged to Clemons’ codefendant Marlin Gray, and what Manners describes as “a light-colored hair recovered” from Gray’s clothing.

Gray was executed by the State of Missouri in 2005.

Clemons’ execution was scheduled for June 17, 2009 before a federal court issued a stay of execution while it ruled on a separate procedural matter. In the meantime, the Missouri Supreme Court surprisingly opened a new evidence phase by appointing a special master with subpoena powers.

In his original jury trial, Clemons’ attorneys requested any evidence taken from the Kerry corpse in a pre-trial motion. His current attorneys insist the sudden unearthing of this old evidence proves Clemons deserves a new trial.

As Levine wrote to Manners on March 25, “Due process demands that [Clemons] be granted a new trial to fairly evaluate all exculpatory evidence suppressed by the State, which includes not only the rape kit and lab report, but also the draft police report altered by the prosecutor in this case and other evidence uncovered during the discovery process.”

This passage offers a glimpse into even more newly uncovered evidence in this new, unprecedented evidence phase of a man who had been sentenced to die.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On standing apart in St. Louis

So I put in the CD, and that was it, my car CD became a black hole. OOoommmph.

It would spit the CD back out, after a little juju from me, but put the disc back in and, lights out, the CD deck is suddenly silent blank dashboard.

So, I am down to radio now, when I am in the car. In St. Louis, I knew, that was totally cool. We have KDHX here - my favorite radio station in the universe. I'd have thought that KDHX would be my sole, varied and sustainable musical diet.

Here is the super big surprise. It's actually not the only station I listen to in my CD-void car. KDHX is probably not even getting a pure majority of my ear time. It's getting a plurality of my plays, and it's still my favorite radio station in the universe (competing with BBC Radio 3 and KUSC in Los Angeles), but there is way more out there on the dial in St. Louis.

I'd always dismissed Classic 99 as schmaltzy and Romantic. I was an idiot. It is an edgy, essential, often profoundly strange, and thrilling venue for classical music. Some days I start out on Classic 99 and visit several hundred worlds on the way to work without ever moving the dial.

But, it has commercials - which pay the bills, I know - but it's hard to take your medicine. Jazz is a lateral move from classical, and KDHX has very little jazz, so often I light over on to WSIE - a station I had associated with soft jazz and derivative bop, again proving my idiocy. WSIE is often adventurous and almost never dull, full of surprises and quirky jazz.

With those three stations, KDHX and Classic 99 and WSIE, I could live only on the FM dial in St. Louis, but for the large glut of blues music on FM 88.1, so often scheduled during drive time. I am mostly for the scratchy and trance country blues, and I don't get much of that on KDHX blues shows, so I switch it on over to AM.

And that is where lurks 1430 AM, which is absolutely off the hook, insanely great and varied, an encyclopedic oldies - in many, many months of listening, now, I have only heard one song twice, a song by the Beach Boys, and only one band I don't need to ever hear again: the Beach Boys.

Thom and Stefene Fletcher Russell sing songs of praise to 770 AM, so I have added that station to my arsenal; and holy gamole, the Mexican pop music just hops and pops and sparkles.

Weird thing for me, just as I am making these discoveries, learning how varied is our local dial in St. Louis, the mighty KDHX is dramatically streamlining its self-presentation. Not the music, mind you, just the package.

"Independent music plays here," we are told, or the producers are made to tell us. That assertion of independence is the most forced, repetitious and robotic thing I am told anywhere on the edges of my St. Louis dial.

As an assertion, it is true, and not true, which makes it not worth asserting. Is Bob Dylan independent? Only in a spiritual sense of independence that is beside the point. Is Springsteen independent? Stevie Wonder? KDHX plays so much beautiful music that is coopted by the industry and mass-produced, and that is fine by me; I wish more beautiful music could be successfully coopted by the industry and mass-produced.

Also, I wonder, is "independent" synonymous with good? Not to me. I love symphonic music and opera, and they are always elaborately institutionalized. These musical forms are simply too expensive to produce without a strong institutional basis. Dependent music plays on Classic 99 - and, in St. Louis afternoon drive time, that dependent music is kicking the ass of any independent music on the dial.

KDHX's new didactic formatting is also telling me that the station "stands apart". Yaaaaawwwn. That is true in only one sense. On a St. Louis dial full of stations that really do stand apart, KDHX is the only one puffing up and telling me it is doing so.


Photograph by Thom Fletcher

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A six pack of me published in The Nation magazine

During the years the internet was being popularized and adopted by newspapers, I was a traveling musician who paid my meager bills through freelance journalism. As such, I had a front-row seat as editors began to experiment with uploading print copy and developing standards for acquiring and asserting rights to digital publication.

I am a bit ashamed of one incident.

I had traveled to western North Carolina, found the descendents of the balladeer and song collector Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and instigated a Smithsonian/Folkways release of his work on CD. I reported this adventure in a long feature story that I managed to sell to several weekly newspapers in Bascom's home state.

Years later, looking for information on Bascom, I found my story uploaded and archived on one of those newspaper's websites. The webpage that displayed my story was lined with advertising. No one had ever asked me if they could republish my story digitally or paid me to do so. I found the editor's phone number (I recognized his name; I had worked with him on the initial print version) and left him a nasty message.

He called back, justly offended. In the end, I let him keep the story up on their site, didn't demand any additional payment, and felt ashamed at my nastiness.

This memory came back to me yesterday. Searching for a link about Wole Soyinka, I found a page on The Nation magazine website where they are peddling digital copies of archival stories. And there was a long lead review of a Soyinka book I had written for The Nation in 1996, available for purchase.

The Nation is a venerable left-wing magazine published out of New York. They do important advocacy journalism, and I was immensely proud to review books for them and get paid for my work. They won't be receiving any nasty calls or letters from me, and I hope my old efforts on their behalf are bringing them some scratch now to continue their mission.

In fact, I searched the site for my author name so I could set up a little satellite store for them here. Seems like I did more work than this for them back then, but this is what they have archived for my byline:

The death of a clown. A review of a collection of poetry by Roque Dalton.

Less than exotic in Zaire. A review of a novel by Sony Labou Tansi.

Gay in Istanbul. A review of Blind Cat Black by Ece Ayhan.

Marx in Mozambique. A review of a work of post-coloniali African history.

Coffin for an Oligarchy. A review of Open Sore of a Continent by Wole

Scream, memory. A review of two testimonial books about the Latin American disappeared.

Any of these stories would set you back $2.95, though there are discounts for volume.

Given that they have archived exactly six (6) of my stories, I do regret there isn't a discounted fee for specifically that many articles; for I would very much like to offer you a six pack of ... me! In The Nation magazine.

Friday, March 26, 2010

When Adlai got the Tea Party treatment in Dallas

In The St. Louis American's obligatory report this week on the passage of health insurance reform, I got a good quote out of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay. I had asked him if he had spoken with his colleague U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver after Cleaver (a pastor) was spat on by a presumably racist protestor on Capitol Hill.

"He was lucky he picked a man of the cloth," Clay said of the protestor. "If he had picked me, I would not have turned the other cheek."

In a week where incivility and threats of violence ruled American politics, I am glad we were spared the image of Congressman Clay wading into a Tea Party crowd and opening a can of whoop ass.

My wife follows this action on her free time, but since I give at the office, when she turns on her CNN at night I retreat into a neutral corner to read a book. This week I have been reading Dallas Justice: The Real Story of Jacky Ruby and His Trial* by Ruby's lead trial attorney, Melvin M. Belli.

Because Belli thought he and his client were crucified in the Dallas media, which he viewed as a mouthpice for the mid-century Dallas oligarchy, Belli sets a stage for how out of control that oligarchy was at the time - and their coziness with what he describes as "right-wing fanatics".

This all sounds drearily familiar. There even was a spat-upon Democrat, though this incident was absent of race.

Less than a month before President Kennedy arrived in Dallas for his unscheduled appointment with history, his Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson** was in town to address a Dallas UN Association meeting.

Stevenson was protested by a group calling itself "The National Indignation Committee," sort of a nice, all-purpose protest moniker. After the speech, exiting the building, Stevenson crossed police lines to reason with a woman who had yelled a vicious phrase at him.

At that point another protestor clubbed the diplomat over the head with a picket sign, Belli notes, "and two young men spat on him."

In another echo of the farce of today, "Bruce Alger, the right-wing Republican Congressman from Dallas, disputed the need for a City Council apology to the Ambassador."

Less than a month later, the U.S. president was shot dead in the same city.


* I am reading about Jack Ruby because our arts organization, Poetry Scores, is setting to music (and staging other multimedia events) around the long poem Jack Ruby's America by David Clewell. Long after we picked Clewell and started to work on this project, he was named Missouri Poet Laureate.

** Adlai Stevenson is a great uncle of one of my best and oldest friends, the producer Lij, who cofounded Poetry Scores and coproduced the first poetry score with me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

I got a new thing for a new (old) baseball team

I'm making a new commitment tonight. I'm committing to the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville Cougars baseball team.

I drifted into a pregame interview on WSIE 88.7 FM this evening. WSIE is a jazz station hosted by the university, my third pick on the local radio dial, after Classic 99 and KDHX.

I expected jazz, but when I heard two people talking baseball, I had to soak in some of their dialogue, after this long hard winter, just to hear the old beloved lingo.

The radio guy was talking to the head coach of the baseball team. The coach sounded frank, not quite biting, about how his team is shaping up in the early spring. The radio guy asked good questions. I liked their rapport.

After the coach left us, hoping his starting pitching would give his team a chance to win, the radio guy started talking up the starting lineups. Immediately, I fell under the spell of baseball player names, which I consider a species of magical language.

I can read any box score from any team in any league from any era. I really can. Just the magic of the random names, and the satisfaction of matching fielding position to spot in the batting order. You know the variations, all those sleek leadoff shortstops, the squat backstops who bat eighth (just in front of the second baseman), the hulking corner outfielders and beef-fisted first basemen who clean up.

In the game tonight, SIUE at the Evansville (Indiana) Purple Aces -> I know, I know, I know; the Purple Aces! the fricking Purple Aces! -> there were two grand baseball player names in the starting lineups: a third baseman named Cody Thick, and a right-handed starting pitcher named Keegan Dennis.

Cody Thick, 3B !
Keegan Dennis, P !

Actually, now that I search to see who plays on which team, and if it was all really real, I see that third baseman is actually Cody Fick, not Thick, which - and I hadn't dreamt it was possible! - I like even better.

Cody Fick, 3B !
Keegan Dennis, P !

Both of these magical baseball player names happen to belong to the Purple Aces, the Indiana nine, but I don't mind. I'm following the Cougars, the hometown guys. After all, the next opposing team down the road will bring all new glorious additions to the alchemical literary tradition of the box score.

The SIUE Cougars are, by the way, very much my hometown team. I grew up one long grueling bike ride from the campus where these guys play ball. A big rangy lefthanded power-hitting first baseman cousin of mine used to play for them. Thanks to that connection, much SIUE baseball Cougar branded sportswear - typically threadbare from having been worn down by a power-hitting cousin of a first baseman - have adorned me.

So, play ball! I'm down with y'all. I'll be finding you on the radio, and here on my laptop (where the local boys just dropped one, 3-2, in extra innings; tough luck; but the starting pitching certainly did hang in there long enough to give the team a chance to win).

I really like the radio guy, Joe Pott, a working professional rather than a passionate campus amateur; though he does have passion. Pott reminds me a bit of my personal favorite baseball announcer (sorry, Cardinals fans): Gary Cohen, the voice of The New York Mets. I look forward to getting to know Joe Pott's game flow and combing through his broadcasts for nuggets of play-by-play lyricism.

Play by play only, at this point. He has no color commentator calling the games with him. Kind of restraining myself, at this point, from considering myself in tranining for a walk-on pro bono role as Joe Pott's color commentator.

And what is a thing for a baseball team without some trips to the park?

I am sure if I stick with this thing, I will go looking for some married/guy/with/child hall passes for weekend games (or perhaps packing the whole family for a budget good time - homegame tickets are in the $5-7 dollar range, as opposed to the $57 range).

But let's start with the easy part. I have negotiated Wednesday nights to myself after I make newspaper deadline. And the boys do have a few Wednesday night games under the lights on the schedule, all against "Saint Louis", which must be SLU.

Wednesday nights with the baseball Cougars

7 p.m. April 14, hosting Saint Louis on SIUE campus

7 p.m. April 28 at Saint Louis

7 p.m. May 12 against Saint Louis in Sauget

That there gig at SLU competes with a night of classical music at The Sheldon I had spec'd - there is so damn much to do in St. Louis! - what to do?


Dirty baseball picture from somebody's Flickr.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The time Alex Chilton played "13" on Skoob's guitar

A few years ago I wrote most of a memoir about my life playing post-punk music and collecting amateur folklore. One chapter (happens to be 25) describes my experience opening for Alex Chilton during his first revival tour. I've been thinking about this since I heard Alex had died.


In the Afterglow of a Big Star

Alex Chilton's band Big Star predated punk, not to mention post-punk. Their third and final record, Sister Lovers, virtually a Chilton solo project recorded in the mid-70s as his band disintegrated around him, more or less gives the lie to the concept of post-punk that is so dear to me.

You can shake every important post-punk band straight out of Sister Lovers, with a dash of Marquee Moon by Television (garnished with Captain Beefheart, to taste). It was as if the fury of punk was needed to shatter the complacency of the 70s (best exemplified by disco), but once all its two-minute songs came to their abrupt ends, rock music could step right through its ruins and proceed unscathed.

Big Star had been grandfathered into our tradition because the bands we cared about (most notably the Replacements) were the ones who covered and rediscovered them, eventually getting Chilton out of New Orleans, where he had been washing dishes, and onto the road again. Alex Chilton was very recently resurrected from the rock and roll dead when he came to Cicero's. Seeing his name advertised in a club listing was a harrowing sight, as if the whereabouts of ghosts were common knowledge now and receiving advance publicity.

Seeing "Enormous Richard" in small print in the same vertical Cicero's ad, and printed alongside "Alex Chilton" on a computer-generated ticket, left a bunch of extremely wordy graduate students speechless. Every rookie up for his first cup of coffee in the big leagues who hears his name announced in the same line-up as a Hall of Famer must know the feeling.

We have it on good authority that Alex Chilton made a sour pucker as we started to play. He quietly retreated into Cicero's store room, the space just off the bar where I had interviewed Chicken Truck what seemed like a lifetime ago. We never really saw him until he took the stage (which was never a stage). There, he withstood relentless cries from Skoob and me to play the Big Star songs "September Gurls" and "Thirteen".

Chilton wasn't resurrected as a rock and roll ghost of his former self, though. He came back as a completely different cat, more lounge act than tortured savant. The root of the rock music that had changed our lives was going back to his own roots, Southern soul, which he performed like a journeyman, not a genius. Chilton was even playing "Volare", a song we associated with a television commercial starring Ricardo Montalban of Fantasy Island fame.

If we had been looking at the Cicero's listing for weeks, trying to believe our eyes, we spent Chilton's entire set staring at the stage, trying to believe our ears.

Just as bug-eyed greenhorns drop their jockstraps onto the same locker room floor as the legends, at gig's end Enormous Richard and Alex Chilton had to load our gear out of the same dank basement. We had worked up the gumption to touch the hem of his garment. This took the form of resuming our plea for him to sing "Thirteen", just for us.

"Can't," Chilton said. "Lays an egg for me."

"We'll play it," I insisted, "and you just sing."

Sensing he would see his hotel sooner if he gave in, Chilton snapped, "Come here." He led us into Cicero's pantry.

Out of earshot of stragglers, Skoob began to pick "Thirteen" and Alex Chilton sang along with us. Or rather, he tried to, but he had to keep interrupting himself to call out the correct chords.

Skoob, like many a porch musician, was in the habit of learning dumbed-down, cheater's versions of songs that call, in the original, for a little more manual dexterity than he was likely to possess in the beer-addled moods that made him want to play them.

"For Christ's sake," Chilton finally said, "give it here!" He grabbed Skoob's guitar and played the song correctly, leading us in the vocal.

Rock and roll is here to stay
Come inside where it's OK
And I’ll shake you …

We sang along inside Cicero's pantry, in the basement where rock music was reborn in St. Louis, as Alex Chilton fingered chords on the cheap guitar where my notebook songs were coming to life.


Photo from somebody's Flickr.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Randall Roberts makes good at L.A. Times!

I have been beset by memories and reflections since learning from a Randall Roberts status update that he is the new pop music editor for The L.A. Times, which I consider to be one of the best music journalism jobs in the world - and based in my personal favorite American city.

The memories and reflections set in after an initial burst of pride. I have known Randall and watched him work for a long time, and nothing explains his success other than talent, hard work and knowing how to deal with people.

These are the facets of a professional that impress me, as opposed to powerful connections, an influential family legacy or the assassin's skill at stabbing in the back the people ahead of you in line - none of which describes Randall Roberts, so far as I know.

I don't know him well enough, personally, to say "it couldn't happen to a nicer guy," but I can say it couldn't happen to a more deserving professional. The reflections start there - with an agreeable sense that the right guy got the plum gig.

I also take a collegial pride in the success of a fellow East Sider who did something with himself, starting in the bigger city across the river, St. Louis.

Randall is from Edwardsville, Illinois, a state university town across the Mississippi from St. Louis; I am from Granite City, Illinois, a steel town a few miles downriver. Uncle Tupelo, the rock band from our era that made the biggest splash (and splintered into Son Volt and Wilco) are from Belleville, Illinois, just a few more miles downriver.

It's always occurred to me that St. Louis got a lot of spark from us upstarts from the wrong side of the river (or from the out-state fringes, like Crystal City, which produced Chicken Truck, who became the Bottle Rockets). It's like we didn't know any better. St. Louis looked like a big deal, compared to our lesser towns, so we made the most of it, mostly uninfected by the habitual insecurity about St. Louis that plagues many of its parochial natives.

I have had some success as a journalist in St. Louis, then taken my show on the road and had some success in more competitive markets. I worked as a travel editor in New York City and covered Connecticut for The New York Times. But I probably would not have left St. Louis had our beloved local weekly, The Riverfront Times, not been sold to a chain out of Phoenix that had a bad reputation among writers.

So I'm not one who thinks you need to leave St. Louis and be anointed elsewhere. In fact, since I moved back home from New York to edit The St. Louis American, I have been struck by the wide scope to make a difference that a smaller media market affords. I think a smaller city can be a very exciting place to do journalism.

However, I will admit that it makes me proud to see Randall rise to prominence in St. Louis media, take a transfer to Los Angeles, rise in prominence in that more competitive city, and then make the extremely rare, elusive leap from weekly paper (L.A. Weekly) to daily paper - (L.A. Times) and leadership at a daily paper, no less.

Randall's success thus far has all come at the chain that bought out our beloved local weekly. I don't hold that against him - there are slim pickings for media jobs in St. Louis, and Randall managed to hold onto a good one, and then ride it out to L.A. What it means, at this point, is he must have developed some skill at office politics in a corporate (eccentric, but corporate) media envirnment, which suggests he is not in for any major system shocks in his new position.

Other than that daily deadline ... But then, the blog thing broke most weekly scribes into that transition, which may mean that Randall is part of a new trend, where the snobbish divisions between dailies and weeklies is eroded a bit in the minds of those who hire and fire.

Finally, and less importantly, I was moved to blog about Randall's success and his new position to put on the record (even on the record of a blog) a small fact that now looks a little bigger. A couple of winters ago I struggled to write my first novel. I haven't succeeded in selling it yet, but I intend to. It includes a minor character, named John Thomson, who is the pop music critic for the L.A. Times.

Since Randall landed this sweet job after I wrote my novel, but before more than a handful of people have read it, I felt the need to establish somewhere that my imagining the events of the novel came first in time. John Thomson is not a bad character, or a particularly important one, and Randall may never read this thing; but if he does, I wouldn't want him straining to find shadows of himself. They're not there.
So, that's that. And all the best to Randall in what I consider one of the very jobs of its kind in the world. We expect great things from him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rape kit found in Clemons case

By Chris King
Of The St. Louis American
This morning (March 8) the Special Master appointed to review the case of Missouri death row inmate Reginald Clemons was informed of crucial new evidence.
In a fax from the office of Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Judge Michael Manners was informed that a rape kit and three laboratory reports on the rape kit had been discovered by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and turned over to Koster’s office.
This would have to be evidence collected from the corpse identified as Julie Kerry. Clemons was convicted as an accomplice in the 1991 murders of Julie and Robin Kerry, who allegedly were raped then thrown from the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The body of Robin Kerry was never recovered.
The letter to Manners states that the "State of Missouri requests that a hearing be scheduled to determine an appropriate protocol for the testing and dissemination of the test results of the biological evidence in question."
In a pretrial motion, Clemons’ defense attorneys in his 1993 jury trial requested any evidence collected from the corpse of Julie Kerry, but none was provided by prosecutor Nels C. Moss.
In the letter faxed to Judge Manners this morning, Stephen D. Hawke of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office said that on March 2, 2010, Moss "informed two assistant attorneys general that he had recently been told of the existence of a rape kit located at the St. Louis Police Department Crime Lab. Mr. Moss stated that he had no prior knowledge of this rape kit, raising the inference that the evidence had not been previously disclosed as part of the state’s case against Mr. Clemons."
Clemons never has been tried for the charges of rape, though those charges – and testimony about the alleged rapes – were presented as evidence in his trial on the charges of murder as an accomplice. Further, the charges of rape were allowed as a "sentence enhancer" when Moss argued to the jury that they should sentence Clemons to death – as they did.
On the day Clemons was sentenced to death, Moss’ star witness, Thomas Cummins, received $150,000 in a settlement with the St. Louis police. Cummins is a cousin of the Kerry girls who confessed to a role in their deaths before Clemons or his three codefendants were interrogated or charged.
Cummins claimed that his confession was coerced. Clemons and his codefendants later claimed that their confessions also were corceed, alleging very similar abuse on the part of St. Louis detectives. Clemons’ allegation of police abuse was not allowed as evidence in his original jury trial.
On June 30, 2009, Manners was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court as Special Master with full subpoena powers to gather new evidence in the Clemons case and make a recommendation to the Court in response to Clemons’ most recent writ of habeas corpus.
The same Court had set an execution date of June 17, 2009 for Clemons, before a federal court issued a stay of execution while it ruled on a procedural matter relating to an appeal concerning the State of Missouri’s competence in administering its execution protocols.
Also in June, while being interrogated by Redditt Hudson of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, Moss disclosed on The Charles Jaco Show that he once had in his possession clothing retrieved from the body of Julie Kerry.
Moss told Hudson that if Clemons’ defense had asked for the evidence, "it was theirs." In fact, they had asked for it in the pre-trial motion for discovery.
In that interview, Moss also implied that the evidence had been tested and that he was aware of the test results. Moss said, "What was left on her was so water-soaked that nothing could be made out."
This claim is at variance with what he told the State of Missouri in his March 2, 2010 deposition, according to the letter faxed this morning to Manners.
A hearing on the Clemons case has been set for May 10.


Photo of Chain of Rocks Bridge from someone's Picasa site.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two prints by George "Dak Maverick" Davidson of Athens, Georgia

Big event for me: the arrival in the mail today of two prints from my friend George Davidson. This is a detail from one of the prints, "Feels Like 2nd & Beale".

Another detail from "2nd and Beale". The prints are signed with an allusion to George's artistic alter ego, Dak Maverick.

I love this streetscape imagery of some Memphis of the mind. George did his hard time in Memphis, though he is from Charlotte, North Carolina and lives now in Athens, Georgia, where I found him years ago (long story).

Here is a slightly skewed look at the entire print, "Feels Like 2nd & Beale", signed and numbered 30/32. I was standing with one foot each on two stools with this spread out on the kitchen table when I took the picture. The prints are huge.

Fervent singing from the soul in a detail from the other print that arrived today, "Rabbit Foot Diva", a title that reflects Dak's genuine feel for the mystical folklore of the South.

Another detail from "Diva". Lots and lots of primitive musicmaking in George's imagery. George himself plays wicked saxophones, in various and shifting musical settings in Athens, which doesn't have quite the jazz scene he needs to nurture this aspect of his being.

This detail from "Diva" takes in some other core icons from Dak's visual lexicon: dice and playing cards, the element of chance as explored and exploited by gamblers.

"Rabbit Foot Diva" in its entirety, signed by the artist and numbered 13/41.

I have written about George on here several times before; here is this blog searched for his name, if you want to read more.

I love this cat, this dog; this friendship has done us both a lot of good over a pretty long span of years now. I also am incredibly fortunate that every so often Dak decides to archive some of his work with me. I will cherish and display it.