Law enforcement share their side of the Richard Clay case - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Law enforcement share their side of the Richard Clay case

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New Madrid Chief of Police Claude McFerren and New Madrid Co. Sheriff Terry Stevens New Madrid Chief of Police Claude McFerren and New Madrid Co. Sheriff Terry Stevens

By Holly Brantley - bio | email

NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Governor Jay Nixon is now the last hope for a Heartland man who sits on death row. Thursday, the state's Supreme Court overruled Richard Clay's latest appeal for a stay of execution. However, Governor Nixon issued a statement as well, saying he will consider Clay's case.

Clay is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the Correctional Center in Bonne Terre just after 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, January 12.

Several members of law enforcement and the prosecution team close to the case from the time it began in 1994 still work in the Heartland.

"My phone dispatcher said there'd been a homicide," said New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens. Stevens was the Chief Deputy back in 1994.

That's how he remembers the case as it began, months before the story of a murder for hire plot would play out in courts. Though stories vary from the suspects, we know Randy Martindale was shot four times in his bedroom in New Madrid. The plot involved Martindale's estranged wife Stacy, her lover, and Richard Clay. Clay says his death row conviction as the shooter wasn't fair.

Others say it was.

"I think he got a fair trial," said New Madrid Chief of Police Claude McFerren.

Besides Stevens, McFerren also remembers the night of May 19, 1994. He was the patrolman on duty that evening.

"I was patrolling and I saw a car with a child's toy underneath it. I thought the driver might be intoxicated, so I turned my lights on and started to follow him," said McFerren.

McFerren says as a chase ensued, he couldn't tell how many people were in the car.

"We turned down a dusty road," recalled McFerren. "And my attention was on the sparks."

McFerren says both doors were open when he approached the car. About the same time, he got a call of shots fired. He says he realized the car matched the description from dispatchers.

He says from start to finish Clay got a fair deal. Sheriff Stevens feels the same way.

Stevens remembers wading through the swamps near the area of Highway U and County Road 732 searching for clues.

"I feel very confident about the evidence that was collected and presented," said Stevens. "The jury came back with the proper verdict. All the evidence pointed to Mr. Clay."

Sheriff Stevens discussed some of the lingering questions, including how many people were in the car.

"At the time there was one set of tracks," said Sheriff Stevens. "But we were under the impression there were two people that fled the vehicle. But there was only one set of tracks that I was following."

He also said it was possible for Stacy Martindale to have gunpowder residue on her hands, even if she didn't fire the gun.

Kenny Hulshof, who was on the prosecution team issued a statement:

"If you believe in our system of justice, the only possible conclusion is that he received a fair trial. The Missouri Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit have reviewed all of the claims raised by Mr. Clay and his attorneys. Both courts have determined that Mr. Clay's conviction and death penalty should be upheld."

Riley Bock, another prosecutor, did not want to discuss the case further.

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