St. Louis, MO – A repeat felon accused of murder was allowed to walk free over the weekend after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office failed to show up to court for multiple hearings on the case.
St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Jason Sengheiser called Gardner’s office out for failing to do its job on Friday and said he was left with no options but to dismiss the murder charge against 30-year-old Brian Campbell, KSDK reported.
“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 said as he dismissed the charge.
Although Gardner quickly released a statement claiming the accused murder was still in custody and that her office had re-filed charges, Campbell had actually already been released, KSDK reported.
“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 [in] custody,” she declared.
Gardner released a follow-up statement on Tuesday night confirming Campbell is actually on the loose.
She further claimed her office has been keeping the family of the victim, 30-year-old Randy Moore, informed about the status of the case – a claim Moore’s family denies, according to KSDK.
In fact, the Moore family said the only updates they have received on the case have come from homicide detectives and the media.
“Why was it so hard to pick up the phone to call to let us know what was going on?” Randy Moore’s sister, Cierra Moore, said of the prosecution’s lack of communication.
The murder victim’s other sister, Brandy Veasley, said Gardner’s office has been an all-around failure from the start, KSDK reported.
“Kim Gardner is a poor excuse for a prosecutor. It’s not fair,” Veasley told the news outlet. “I know she tried to give the black people chances, but on a murder? No. No.”
Campbell, a six-time felon, allegedly shot Randy Moore on April 9, 2020, in an argument over a girl, KSDK reported.
“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,” Veasley said. “It was devastating to find out that it was him.”
He was indicted in February and immediately fled to Texas, where he was apprehended by U.S. Marshals.
According to the dismissal order, Campbell’s public defender repeatedly asked Gardner’s office for the evidence against her client, KSDK reported.
A prosecutor handed over a portion of the evidence in April, but then quit working for Gardner’s office.
The public defender filed a motion May 17 asking Gardner’s office to hand over the evidence and urging the judge to sanction the prosecutor’s office if it failed to comply, KSDK reported.
Gardner’s office assigned another attorney to the case the same day as the defense motion, but the attorney assigned was already out on a three-month maternity leave at the time, Sengheiser wrote.
“In the Court’s view, someone from the Circuit Attorney’s Office must be assigned while she is on leave to deal with issues like the ones present here,” the judge said. “Otherwise, she is not really on leave.”
Gardner’s office failed to show up for a hearing in Campbell’s case on May 27, KSDK reported.
The following day, Campbell’s lawyer sent an email directly to Gardner asking her who she should contact regarding the murder case since the attorney assigned was still on maternity leave.
Gardner never responded.
The defense attorney provided a copy of the email to Sengheiser, KSDK reported.
On June 4, the judge issued an order directing someone from Gardner’s office to show up for a June 15 hearing on the case, but the prosecutor’s office ignored it.
Sengheiser subsequently granted defense’s motion to compel Gardner’s office to hand over all evidence in the case against Campbell, but that order was also ignored, according to the judge.
Campbell’s lawyer ultimately filed a motion asking Sengheiser to dismiss the case due to “willful violations of the rules of discovery,” KSDK reported.
The judge ordered on July 6 that Gardner’s office needed to appear on July 12 to show cause as to why the murder charge against Campbell should not be dismissed and had a deputy deliver the order directly to Gardner’s office, according to the news outlet.
No one from the prosecutor’s office showed up for that hearing either.
Sengheiser subsequently dismissed the charge against Campbell and he was released from custody, KSDK reported.
In addition to falsely claiming Campbell was still in jail despite the dismissal, Gardner further tried to blame the situation on the assigned prosecutor’s maternity leave.
“Upon review of our internal policies and procedures regarding Family Medical Leave, we have determined that corrective measures are needed to further prevent any future repeat occurrence of the incident in question,” Gardner said in a statement to KSDK.
Veasley said the refiling of charges is little consolation, especially considering it just starts the same process “all over again.”
“That’s stressful because he can go out of town. He can hide. Y’all have to find him,” she told KSDK. “It ain’t like he’s going to turn himself in.”
“Why aren’t they doing their job?” Cierra Moore asked, referring to Gardner and her office.
According to the National Center for State Courts, approximately one-third of the felony cases filed in St. Louis Circuit Court wind up getting dismissed – a figure that is nearly double the dismissal rate in surrounding jurisdictions, KSDK reported.
The dismissal rate in the 22nd Judicial Circuit has doubled in the five years Gardner has been in office, according to the news outlet.
Campbell’s case was one of three murder cases to be dismissed in St. Louis in a single week, KMOV reported.
Gardner’s office dismissed charges against Terrion Phillips, who was slated to go to trial this week.
Charges were refiled immediately after the dismissal, KMOV reported.
Gardner’s office also dropped murder charges against Gregory Seddens, 31, who was also scheduled to go to trial this week, according to KMOV.