Details of Disappearance Robin was last seen on the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis, Missouri at 11:25 p.m. on April 5, 1991. The bridge spans the Mississippi River at the Missouri/Illinois state line.
Robin and her 20-year-old sister, Julie Ann Kerry, had taken a visiting 19-year-old cousin from Maryland, Thomas Cummins, to the bridge to show him a graffiti poem they had painted there several years earlier. A photograph of Julie is posted with this case summary.
Several hours later, Thomas contacted police and told them four men had attacked him and his cousins, robbed him, raped the women and pushed them off the bridge into the river. Thomas then jumped off the bridge after being ordered to do so by the attackers.
He saw Julie in the water, still alive, but they became separated and he never saw her or Robin again. He was able to swim to shore and get help. Julie's body was recovered in Caruthersville, Missouri several weeks later, but Robin's remains were never located.
Authorities initially suspected Thomas had been responsible for the Kerry sisters' deaths and that he made up the story about the other men to cover up his own crime. He failed a polygraph shortly after making his initial report. Investigators theorized that Julie had accidentally fallen off the bridge while resisting Thomas's sexual advances, and Robin jumped in to save her, and both of them drowned.
Thomas was charged with murdering his cousins, but he was quickly released for lack of evidence, and the investigation turned in another direction. He later won a settlement against the St. Louis police department for wrongful interrogation techniques.
Marlin Gray, Daniel Winfrey, Reginald Clemons, and Clemons's cousin, Antonio D. Richardson, were subsequently convicted of raping and murdering Robin and Julie and robbing Thomas. His belongings were found in their possession after their arrests. All four defendants confessed to the crime, and their stories were consistent with Thomas's version of events, but three of them later recanted.
Winfrey, who was 15 years old at the time of the murders and the only attacker who did not participate in the rapes, took a plea bargain and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his testimony against the others.
While he was in prison, he wrote a letter to the Kerry family apologizing for his role in the crimes. He was paroled in 2007, after serving half his sentence, but was subsequently returned to prison for parole violations.
The other three defendants were sentenced to death. Gray was executed in October 2005. Richardson's sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2005. Clemons spent more than twenty years on death row, then his conviction was overturned after a judge decided his confession was coerced and excluded it from evidence.
In December 2017, Clemons admitted his guilt in court and pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of rape and one count of first-degree robbery and was sentenced to five consecutive terms of life in prison.
Both Robin and Julie were students at the University of Missouri at St. Louis in 1991; Julie was an English major. Foul play is suspected in Robin's case due to the circumstances involved. Thomas's sister, Jeanine Cummins, wrote a book about her cousins' murders called A Rip in Heaven.
- Saint Louis Police Department
Updated 8 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 24, 2019; picture added.