St. Louis Circuit Judge Jason Sengheiser dismissed a murder case after the prosecution missed multiple hearings, and stated that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office has “essentially abandoned its duty to prosecute those it charges with crimes.”
The case involving Brandon Campbell, who was charged with the April 9, 2020, murder of Randy Moore, was dismissed and Campbell released, even though Gardner released a statement claiming her office had re-filed the charges and that Campbell was still in custody.
Gardner said in the statement: "Be assured that as the Circuit Attorney of the City of St. Louis, I am accountable to the public for the actions of the office and remain committed as ever to upholding the highest possible standards and practices of accountability at all levels of this office, particularly the public safety of the residents of the City of St. Louis. As a result, the individual in this case is (sic) custody."
However, Gardner’s office released a second statement, writing that Campbell was still at large, and that her office had kept Moore’s family in the loop regarding the case.
However, Moore’s family maintains that the only information they received about the case came from the detectives on the case, and not Gardner’s office, despite the fact that state statute requires prosecutors to inform the victims’ families about the developments in their cases.
Cierra Moore, Randy Moore’s oldest sister, asked: “Why was it so hard to pick up the phone to call to let us know what was going on?”
Brandy Veasley, one Moore’s sisters, did not derive any comfort from the news that charges against Campbell had been re-filed.
She stated: “Kim Gardner is a poor excuse for a prosecutor. It's not fair. I know she tries to give the Black people chances, but on a murder? No. No.”
30-year-old Randy Moore was a father of three young kids, and had been released from prison just two months before his death. According to his sisters, he was trying to turn his life around and was reconnecting with his children.
According to the family, he was shot by Campbell in the 3700 block of Aldine Avenue in a dispute over a girl. The family stated that Moore and Campbell had been lifelong friends prior to the murder.
Veasley stated: “It was devastating because I'm like 'We grew up together, he used to come over our house, sit on our porch, eat our food,' you know, just a childhood friend. It was devastating to find out that it was him.”
Campbell, who has six prior felony convictions, was arrested in Texas by U.S. Marshalls after he fled St. Louis when he was initially charged with Moore’s murder.
According to Judge Sengheiser, Gardner’s office failed to disclose evidence to Campbell’s public defender, and some of the evidence was shared by one prosecutor before he stopped working for Gardner.
When Campbell’s attorney filed another motion to obtain the evidence on May 17, Gardner’s office assigned the case to an assistant prosecutor who was going on maternity leave, and was not required to respond to anything for three months, the judge’s order stated.
The prosecution failed to appear for the May 27 and June 15 hearings, and also failed to abide by the judge’s order to avail all of the evidence to the defense.
Campbell’s attorney, on June 30, filed a motion to dismiss the case for “willful violations of the rules of discovery.”
In response, on July 6, Sengheiser issued an order for the prosecution to provide cause as to why the case should not be dismissed, and set a hearing for July 12.
A deputy was sent by the judge to deliver a copy of the order directly to Gardner’s office.
Once again, the prosecution failed to appear in court.
Campbell’s attorney provided the court with a copy of an email she sent to Gardner on May 28 asking who was the contact on the case since the prosecutor on record was on maternity leave.
The email went unanswered.
“The Court does not take this action without significant consideration for the implications it may have for public safety. Although presumed innocent, defendant has been charged with the most serious of crimes…In a case like this where the Circuit Attorney’s Office has essentially abandoned its duty to prosecute those it charges with crimes, the court must impartially enforce the law and any resultant threat to public safety is the responsibility of the Circuit Attorney’s Office,” Sengheiser wrote.
According to I-Team, the number of cases that have been dismissed during Gardner’s tenure has been growing and is almost double the rate of dismissals compared to the surrounding jurisdictions.