Kim Gardner, the top St. Louis prosecutor, criticized efforts to oust her from office and defended herself after a teenage volleyball player from Tennessee lost both legs in a vehicle crash police say was caused by a speeding driver facing felony charges. Gardner, a Democrat, said her office tried three times to revoke the bond of 21-year-old Daniel Riley, a robbery suspect who had violated the conditions of his release dozens of times before the crash in downtown St. Louis, reports the Associated Press. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, a Republican, blamed Gardner for failing to keep Riley behind bars. He asked a court on Thursday to remove Gardner on three grounds: failure to prosecute existing cases, failure to file charges in cases brought by police, and failure to inform victims and their families about the status of cases.
“This is about the rule of law and about justice,” Bailey said. “Instead of protecting victims, which is her obligation, she’s creating more victims by neglect in office.” Gardner vowed to stay on the job, accusing the attorney general of a “political stunt” to “stop the voice of the people of the city of St. Louis.” Janae Edmondson, 17, of Smyrna, Tn., was walking with her family to a hotel Saturday night when she was struck. Police said Riley, who did not have a valid drivers license, sped through an intersection and collided with another car before hitting Edmondson and a parked vehicle. “The question needs to be, how was this young man in a car?” said Jeff Wismer, Edmonson's coach. “How was this young man out of his house? How was this young man even in his home and not in prison?” Riley was free on bond after a 2020 robbery charge that was dismissed and refiled last year. His bond violations included letting his GPS monitor die and breaking terms for his house arrest. Bailey said Riley had 94 bond violations since September 2020. Bailey cited more than 200 pending murder and manslaughter cases and more than 4,000 other cases awaiting Gardner's review after being submitted by police. Court officials said they didn’t know Riley had violated his bond because prosecutors never filed a motion to revoke it.