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St. Louis crash suspect was out of jail and violated bond dozens of times before collision robbed visiting teen girl of both her legs


Left: St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (AP Photo/Jim Salter, File). Right: Daniel Riley (via St. Louis Corrections Division).

A teenager from Tennessee visiting Missouri for a volleyball tournament has lost both her legs after the car she was in was struck by a car driven by a man who was out on bail after apparently violating his house arrest dozens of times.

Daniel Riley, 21, was allegedly behind the wheel of an Audi Q5 when it struck a Chevy Malibu at a downtown St. Louis intersection. That car, according to local CBS affiliate KMOV, went “airborne” and struck Janae Edmonson, a pedestrian.

Edmonson, 17, was pinned against a parked car and critically injured. Both of her legs have since been amputated.

An investigation by KMOV revealed that Riley had 100 bond violations and never had a driver’s license. At the time of the crash that injured Edmonson, Riley was out on bond on charges of being armed and stealing a gun in August 2020.

That case was supposed to go to trial in January, but the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office wasn’t ready, KMOV reported, citing unnamed sources. Riley had been on house arrest with a GPS tracker, according to the story; the private company that monitors the GPS filed the violations with the court, but did not separately email the judge. Email notice was provided to the office of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, however.

KMOV reported that Gardner’s office never filed a motion to revoke Riley’s bond.

Gardner’s office said on Twitter that it had in fact tried to get Riley back behind bars, but the judge in the case, Bryan Hettenbach, refused.

“It’s important for the community to understand the prosecutor’s role in this process,” Gardner’s office said Wednesday on Twitter after expressing condolences and her “deepest sympathy” to Edmonson and her family.

According to Gardner, when the 2020 robbery case against Riley was filed in November of that year, the court set Riley’s bond as “personal recognizance with GPS.”

More than a year later, prosectors asked for Riley to be put behind bars.

“On December 12, 2021, prosecutors asked for a bond revocation, which was denied by Judge Hettenbach,” Gardner’s statement says.

The following April, Hettenbach set trial for that June, which the prosecutor’s office said was too soon, because it could not guarantee eyewitnesses were available. Hettenbach refused the prosecution’s request for a short continuance based on unavailability of witnesses, as well as the prosecutor herself. As a result, the case against Riley was dismissed, but prosecutors “re-filed immediately.”

In August of 2022, Riley’s bond conditions were modified so that he could leave home for work, “although they knew he was already leaving his home,” the statement says.

Gardner said that her office had recently requested a hearing before the judge to discuss Riley.

“January 2023, prosecutors asked the court for a hearing date to address Mr. Riley’s bond,” the statement says. “There was no response.”

Gardner said that judges are the ultimate arbiters of bond decisions.

“Judges have the sole authority to determine the bond conditions of a defendant,” the statement says. “Bond violations and decisions do not solely rest on the shoulders of prosecutors. In this matter, prosecutors asked on several occasions for higher bonds, and those requests were denied.”

“A young girl’s life was tragically changed because of the inexcusable behavior of a young man,” the prosecutor’s office had told WMOV in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the victim and her family for this unspeakable tragedy that will undoubtedly have a lasting impact not only on her, but her family and loved ones. It’s unfortunate that there are those who choose to twist the facts to take advantage of this situation for their own selfish motives. This is not the time for finger pointing, it’s time to support this family, and ensure that justice is served.”

Local officials have expressed dissatisfaction with Gardner’s response.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones told WMOV that Gardner “needs to do some soul searching on whether or not she wants to continue with circuit attorney because she’s lost the trust of the people.”

In a statement issued on Twitter, Jones said that the tragedy was “preventable.”

“Visitors and residents alike should be able to feel safe in our city and our downtown,” the statement said. “My office has connected with the Circuit Attorney’s Office and judicial partners to review the processes that led up to this preventable tragedy. Our city can and must do a better job of working together to hold those who endanger our communities accountable.”

Alderman Michael Gras called for Gardner’s resignation on Twitter, as did Alderman Tom Oldenburg. Both Gras and Oldenburg, like Gardner, are Democrats.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, also said that Gardner must resign.

“We are giving Kim Gardner until noon tomorrow to resign,” Bailey said on Twitter. “If she refuses, she will face immediate removal proceedings[.]”

Gardner has been in the national spotlight since 2020, when her office brought charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the gun-toting lawyer couple and Donald Trump supporters who memorably pointed guns in the directions of Black Lives Matter protesters walking in front of their house. Gardner was later removed from the case after she apparently used her prosecution of the McCloskeys in her fundraising efforts.

Both McCloskeys pleaded guilty to assault and harassment misdemeanors in June of 2021. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, pardoned them two months later.

In January of 2020, Gardner sued the city itself and a powerful police union, alleging violations of civil rights and the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. That case was later dismissed.

According to the St. Louis Corrections Division, Riley is being held on assault and weapons charges. Court records indicate he has a hearing scheduled for Monday.

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