Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Rip in Heaven

A Rip in Heaven
by Jeanine Cummins

April, 1991: three teenagers, Julie and Robin Kerry and Tom Cummings (the author's cousins and brother) are assaulted, the girls raped and all three tossed off the old Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. Tom manages to drag his way out of the Mississippi and get help. Days later, he is the main suspect. Through it all the teens' family is dragged through just about every level of hell you can think of.

A Rip in Heaven is written far better than most first person accounts of crime. Jeanine Cummins may be involved in the story, but she also went on to study journalism and acquits herself very well. You can forgive her for spilling over into sentimentality that you wouldn't tolerate from an impartial observer. Most of all, it's a book that focuses on the victims of crime instead of the criminals, and that's always a welcome reminder for those of us who spend a lot of time on the dark side.

3 Comments:

Blogger mesmereyezme2 said...

I could go on and on about this book (and am analyzing it page by page), as I have firsthand knowledge as far as the "real facts goes:

1) Thomas Cummins had a 1-2 year prior "relationship" with his 1st counsin, that on the face goes alot deeper than out of town cousins. Julie and Thomas often exchanged "love letters/poems" through the mail; and were inseparable during their final stay in St. Louis;

2) Julie and Thomas has a romantically-charged 2-week stay while in their grandparents home in Clearwater, Florida a year before (1990), and there were many rumors abounding that Julie had become pregnant and had a subsequent abortion during that time;

3) Thomas Cummins claimed to police that he was "disappointed" that Robin had come along when he met up with Julie 2-3 blocks from his grandparents home that night in April, because he saw it as another night he could be with his girlfriend, Julie;

4) The night in question, Thomas initially claimed to the police that he "had made a romantic advance to Julie, and slapped him and when he reacted she fell backwards off the railing and fell into the water adn Robin jumped in afterwards;

5) Thomas' subsequent claim to Nels Moss (the corrupt prosecutor in this case) that "those 4 black guys did it" was a remarkable and fantastic bucket of untruths and lies which was choreographed by Nels Moss who was in the midst of running for Circuit Attorney and needed to have a good publicly-charged case to get him votes and publicity (an election he subsequently lost). Interestingly, enough, Thomas' attorneys (while he was initially questioned and held by the police) were arranged for him (many have said) rather discreetly by Nels C. Moss, and these same attorneys rather coincidentally donated over $500 in campaign contributions to Nels C. Moss prior to the trials and during his campaign (On the face, seems rather unetchical to accept money from the attorneys of a murder suspect who you allowed to go free)

6) Thomas eventually sued the City of St. Louis for "police brutality" and won $150,000 the following year, but I personally can attest to the police beatings of both Marlin Gray and Reginald Clemons (as I saw the injuries firsthand), but their injuries were never recompensated or their claims taken into consideration;

6) Thomas'claims that the girls were raped are unfounded, as their was never any forensic evidence found at the scene (hairs, fibers, semen, blood, dna, etc). Thomas was found to have a condom in in wallet, and when asked by police why, Thomas said, "you never know when I might get lucky with someone" (julie perhaps?);

7) Thomas additional claim that he was "pushed off" the bridge on a dark night, dropped 90 feet, hit the water at 57 mph at a depth of only 14 feet while the river was churning at 15-17 knots (the United States Coast Guard said "it was too treacherous to boat out there") past 3 intake stations, floated over 300 yards in water of 45-50 degrees full of debris, logs, etc, came upon a bank full of dark, quicksand-like mud, crawled 100 yards to a street, flagged down a truckdriver...but yet...when police came they found him to have no injuries of any level, no marks of any kind (save a 5-6 inch scratch on the left side of his face/cheek [perhaps from a fingernail slapping him?], his clothes were all clean and he was dry from the waist up and his hair was neatly combed and dry.

and 8) the body found 240 miles away 3 weeks later was determined to be Julie Kerry ) Nels Moss would want people to believe, however, the body they recovered had no remarkable injuries, still clothed while in the water, and little to moderate decomposition (according to witnesses who recovered the body..."it was if the girl had only been in the slough 2-3 days as if she just walked in and drowned herself."). There was conflicting dental forensics disputing that this body was indeed the body of Julie Kerry.

Okay...well I could go on but I wont...sorry for taking up too much space here, perhaps...

10:29 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

I'm curious about mesmereyez' relationship to this case. There are many mistakes in your points (for example: The fall was more like 50 feet. Detectives used the 90-foot claim when they were attempting to get a confession from Tom. Also, Tom had a broken pelvis and was heavily bruised.)

You use really wild suppositions about Tom and Julie's relationship to disparage the victims.

I think you'd better analyze the book a little more closely--and your intentions. It's a sad, sad, thing to attack victims, particularly those who are no longer living.

2:43 PM  
Blogger An Open Eye said...

Every point made by mesmereyezme2 can be is true. I am glad that many people have looked into this case. I hope something will be done to preempt the execution of Reginald Clemons. It is too late for Marlin Gray who was murdered by the state of missouri in 2005. I hope the Kerrys' will one day get justice for Julie and Robin. I do wonder though, about their conscienciouses. Even if they thought the people convicted were responsible, they knew of the romantic relationship between Julie and Tom. No one takes pleasure in disrespecting the dead, but the truth has to come out in order to get true justice for the victims.

1:07 AM  

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