Oct. 6 (UPI) — A grand jury on Tuesday indicted a St. Louis couple charged with threatening protesters who passed by their home by brandishing firearms.
Mark McCloskey, 61, and Patricia McCloskey, 63, were indicted on felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering in connection with the incident outside of their luxury mansion as protesters walked past during a June demonstration.
St. Louis Circuit Clerk Thomas Kloeppinger said a judge ordered the indictments suppressed, but was unaware of the reason.
Tuesday’s indictment adds the charge of evidence tampering after the Circuit Attorney’s Office in July charged the couple with one felony count of unlawful exhibiting of a weapon.
Protesters walked through the gated community of Portland Place on June 28, as Mark McCloskey pointed an AR-15 rifle at them while his wife waved a semiautomatic handgun, placing protesters in fear of injury, the July charging documents said.
Defense attorney Joel Schwartz, who is representing the couple, said he had not immediately seen the indictment but suspected the evidence-tampering count was related to Patricia McCloskey’s pistol.
“The gun didn’t function when Mrs. McCloskey had it,” he said. “The only way to support charges against McCloskey is to say that [she and her husband] altered the firearm before it went to the police.”
Schwartz denied that his client had altered the weapon.
The couple has gained national attention since the incident, including a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. Mark McCloskey on Tuesday criticized the court for the additional charges.
“The government chooses to persecute us for doing no more than exercising our right to defend ourselves, our home, our property and our family and now we’re getting drug here time after time after time and for what?” he said.
St. Louis police issued citations to nine people involved in the protests in September, but City Counselor Michael Garvin on Sept. 29 said that trespassing charges would not be pursued.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted and state Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a motion for the case to be dismissed.