Thirty years after a white minister's son was beaten to death in the Central West End, one black man remains in prison. But there's plenty of guilt to go around.

As conflicted as she feels about the events of Friday the 13th of August, 1982, Suzy Rust is no longer ambivalent about speaking up.

"I have (slowly and painfully) realized it is the right thing to do. My eyes are open to the fact that I'm going to be unpopular with former friends. I can live with that easier than I could live with staying quiet."

She remembers clearly, she emphasizes, that Todd was on LSD: a friend's gift, "a birthday hit" of acid, she says.

Eric Clemmons is serving a life term for the 1982 murder of Todd Weems. Tried for the same crime, Clemmons' half-brother Stanley Barnes was sentenced to twelve years and served six and a half.
Tony D'Souza
Eric Clemmons is serving a life term for the 1982 murder of Todd Weems. Tried for the same crime, Clemmons' half-brother Stanley Barnes was sentenced to twelve years and served six and a half.

Even when he wasn't drunk or high, she writes, he didn't have a sense of danger. "There was an innocence about him. He was lanky — not overpowering, but he could get right up in anyone's face, and 'motherfucker' was one of his favorite words.

"We didn't protect the least-protected member of our tribe."

Earl Mulley, who says he wonders to this day how Todd would have turned out had his life not been cut short by violence, expressed surprise upon learning that Eric Clemmons is still in prison.

"It did not cross my mind — I expected him to be out," Mulley says. "It isn't something that's going to keep me from sleeping. I know there's a whole group of people that are part of his life that are affected by it, but I don't have an opinion. If he has done his time and he fixed the bill, I don't have any problem with him coming out. But it ain't gonna be something I'm gonna think about."

Unless noted, facts and witness statements cited in this story are drawn from court documents, including the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's investigative report concerning the murder of Todd Weems. 

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
All
 
 
Loading...