St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner May Finally Be Facing Some Accountability - and All It Took Was a Horrific Traffic Accident

(Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
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17-year-old Jenae Edmondson remains sedated and on a ventilator in the hospital. Her parents haven’t yet shared the heartbreaking news with her that both of her legs had to be amputated.


The teen from Smyrna, Tennessee, was in St. Louis for a volleyball tournament, having recently received a scholarship to play Division II collegiate volleyball. As she and her family were walking back to their hotel from the tournament on Saturday evening, a car driven by 21-year-old Daniel Riley sped through the intersection of 11th and St. Charles Street in downtown St. Louis and struck another vehicle before flipping onto its roof. The impact forced the second vehicle into another, pinning Edmondson between them.

In court on Tuesday, Riley was ordered to remain in custody without bond as Edmondson’s parents gave anguished testimony about the devastation caused by the horrific crash.

The girl’s parents, who witnessed the crash, gave an emotional testimony in court on Tuesday. They said their daughter is still on a ventilator and doesn’t yet know that she lost her legs.

The family was walking back to their hotel after Edmondson’s first day playing in a volleyball tournament when a car came roaring toward them.

“The car took her out of my arms,” her father said.

With her right leg gone and her left leg mangled, he used two belts to stop the bleeding as they waited for paramedics. The 11-year military veteran said he thanked God that he knew from his training how to apply a tourniquet, and it was “the hand of God” that gave him the second belt when he cried out for help from the people gathered around.

“What he has done to us and my daughter is unchangeable,” he said. “I have to now set the foundation for her to life to go. We have to tell her, ‘Your legs are gone.'”


The tragedy of the accident is undeniable. But it is maddeningly compounded by the fact that Daniel Riley should never have been there. Riley was supposed to be on house arrest as he awaited trial for armed robbery. Instead, despite over 50 violations of his bond conditions, Riley remained free and was speeding through downtown St. Louis, unlicensed, and seemingly indifferent to the carnage he would cause.

ST. LOUIS — Daniel Riley was in court ready to go to trial for an armed robbery seven months before police say he caused a crash that caused a volleyball player to lose both of her legs Saturday.

His alleged victim was there. So were the witnesses. And so was the defense.

But St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office wasn’t ready even though the robbery happened in 2020, according to court documents obtained by the I-Team.

So, Gardner’s staff dismissed the charges and refiled them the same day.

That was July 18 of last year. Riley had been on house arrest with a GPS bracelet up until that point and was supposed to remain that way until his next day in court.

That armed robbery took place in August 2020.

Court records show in August 2020, Riley set up a meeting with a man he knew from social media to buy a gun for his older brother. Riley gave the man an address in the 4100 block of Finney Avenue, and, once the victim arrived, there were two other men waiting with Riley, according to the documents.

Riley got into the driver’s side rear seat and another person sat in the rear passenger seat, pointed a rifle at the victim and ordered him to give the gun to Riley, according to court documents.

Once Riley took the gun, all three men got out of the car and ran, according to the court documents.

In September 2020, Gardner’s office charged Riley with armed criminal action and first-degree robbery.

Nearly two years later, the case was ready to go to trial.


Except it wasn’t. As noted above, while the defendant and victim were present and ready to proceed to trial in July 2022, Kim Gardner’s office wasn’t. So the charges were dismissed and refiled.

Initially, when questioned about the case following the crash, the Circuit Attorney’s Office said that the decision to dismiss the case was due to the fact that the victim had died. But that wasn’t true.

ST. LOUIS — Jim Dandridge says his son is very much alive even though St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office told the I-Team Monday he wasn’t.

“He’s playing basketball as we speak right now,” Dandridge told the I-Team Tuesday during an exclusive interview.

A spokesman for Gardner’s office told the I-Team Dandridge’s son — an armed robbery victim — had died, and that’s why prosecutors were not ready to go to trial against his alleged attacker, Daniel Riley, 21, in July 2022.

Nor was that the story the prosecutor presented to the court at the time the case was originally dismissed.

Dandridge said he was also shocked when Assistant Prosecutor Natalia Ogurkiewicz told the court she was not ready for trial two years later, and that she planned to dismiss the charges and re-file them.

“She said she had just returned from her honeymoon and wasn’t prepared for trial,” Dandridge recalled.

Even more maddening, as noted above, Riley has violated the terms of his bond dozens of times and yet, the CAO never moved for revocation.

The I-Team obtained court documents showing Riley violated the terms of his bond, which included GPS monitoring and house arrest, at least 50 times before he was supposed to go trial in July 2022. He violated it at least 40 times ever since – the most recent of which happened just five days before Edmondson was struck.

In a statement from the courts, spokesman Joel Currier said the company that tracks GPS violations said Riley violated the terms of his bond 51 times since charges were refiled against him in July 2022.

The remaining violations disappeared from public view once the original charges were dismissed, but the I-Team obtained documents proving they occurred.

Gardner’s office did not file any motions with the judge asking for Riley’s bond to be revoked.


When pressed on that, the CAO pointed back to the court, insisting the court was aware of the violations and it was a judge’s decision to allow Riley to remain out on bond. However, that isn’t how such situations work — the court doesn’t act sua sponte. In order for the court to revoke Riley’s bond, a motion would need to be presented by the CAO.

Currier said judges are not notified when GPS monitoring violations occur and it is the prosecutor’s duty to file a motion with the court asking to revoke a bond.

“As with every case, it is the responsibility of the attorneys of record to bring relevant matters to the court’s attention by filing and scheduling for hearings any motions deemed appropriate,” according to the statement. “It is not appropriate for the court to act as advocate for any side in any case in our system of government.”

Rather than acknowledge that Riley’s case had been mishandled, Gardner’s office, on Tuesday, issued a statement acknowledging the tragedy, but insisting now is not the time for fingerpointing and decrying “those who choose to twist the facts to take advantage of this situation for their own selfish motives.”

When pressed by KSDK as to what facts had been twisted, Gardner’s spokeswoman Allison Hawk declined to specify.

Initially, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones issued a statement indicating her office had been in contact with the CAO and would be reviewing the matter.


But over the past few days, the St. Louis community has spoken loudly regarding the incompetence and seeming indifference of Kim Gardner’s office.

And now, at long last, there may be some accountability on the horizon for Kim Gardner. It isn’t just citizens and local businesses speaking out. Mayor Jones herself has acknowledged that Gardner has lost the trust of her constituents and it is time for her to “do some soul searching.”


St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones said on Wednesday that she was “disturbed by the statement from the Circuit Attorney in this case.”

The mayor, who has long been a political ally of Gardner’s, scheduled an improvised media appearance in the middle of the workday to issue her public rebuke of Gardner’s term as the city’s prosecutor.

“Take some accountability,” Jones said. “Accountability isn’t weak. Accountability isn’t pointing fingers. Accountability is when something goes wrong, you take accountability, say ‘This is my mess up,’ and, ‘How can we work together to fix it?'”

Mayor Jones stopped just short of demanding her resignation but raised questions about Gardner’s willingness or ability to remain on the job.

“She really needs to do some soul searching on whether or not she wants to continue as circuit attorney, because she’s lost the trust of the people,” Jones said.

Gardner has not yet responded directly to calls for her to resign.

“This incident —  and others — has highlighted the fact that some improvements need to be made in her office,” Jones said.


For a sampling of the “other” incidents to which Jones is alluding, see:

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Committed Professional Misconduct per Chief Disciplinary Counsel

STL Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Lawsuit Thrown out by Federal Judge

Kim Gardner May Be In Hot Water Over McCloskey Prosecution, Burns Her Self-Awareness to the Ground In Response

MO Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner Removed From McCloskey Gun Case

Mayor Jones was far from alone in her criticism of Gardner. Many of her fellow Democrats have spoken out following this latest incident.

As for Janae Edmondson and her loved ones, they have an extremely long road ahead — of healing and adapting and somehow finding a way to make peace with this senseless, needless tragedy. A GoFundMe account has been set up to assist the family and can be found here.

Janae Edmondson (Credit: Pray for Janae GoFundMe Account)



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