Anthony Shaw #168743
2727 Hwy K
Bonne Terre, Missouri 63628

To all sympathizers:

My name is Anthony Shaw, and I have been charged with Murder First and Armed Criminal Action, found guilty and incarcerated since March 3, 1989. I was 18 years old when I received life and fifty years, corrected later to life without parole and three years for armed criminal action. I am one of those persons that seem lost in the system, without a voice. I have filed several motions and appeals about the unfairness of the trial with no success. I would appreciate you taking the time to read a little more about my situation. I am not asking for money. At this time, I am seeking pro-bono representation to take my case to the governor of Missouri for clemency. By reading this letter and taking part, your obligation would only be to see justice done. I feel our judicial system failed by sentencing me to life in prison for an accident. Please find it in your heart to read my testimony.

This is my story:

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with my mother and brother. I had somewhat of a typical childhood for someone born into a poor family in the Midwest. I got good grades in school, was never in trouble, and never had a police record outside of traffic violations. What was not typical of my childhood was that I never did drugs, alcohol, or even smoked. As a teenager, I did hang around people that did. I fell in love with a neighbor girl and we had a child together. Yes, I was too young at the time but I did my best to help her financially. We were in and out of our relationship with each other and she ended up having a child with another man. We remained friends, but we were not as close as we once were. My values were supporting the people I thought were my friends at the time. There was a drive by shooting at my friends house, and I went over there to support his family. Random gunfire was a common occurrence in this neighborhood. The situation got out of hand and I went to get a gun from her stepbrother to fire back into the street when they came back and started the shooting into the house again. She saw me and tried to stop me from going out there. There was a struggle and when the gun went off and the bullet hit her in the shoulder. A fragment of the bullet ended up killing her a few days later. I knew the bullet hit her and I freaked out and ran. That was one of my biggest mistakes. I knew I was the cause of this accident, and my response was that of a scared juvenile and not the same decision I would have made as an adult. The legal representation I did have advised me not to say anything. I wanted to tell them how the accident happened instead followed the direction of counsel.

I remember every incident that happened during those days as if it was yesterday. It was the most traumatic time of my life. She did not deserve to die because of me, and I will always take responsibility for her death. If I could trade her life for mine, that would have happened 18 years ago. I am not a violent person, and I would never intentionally hurt the mother of my child.

I will highlight on inconsistencies laced throughout the trial. First, my attorney had not represented a murder case in several years. A friend recommended him to my mother. This proved to be a mistake. I fell into depression and was too inexperienced and young to know how to help myself in getting proper defense. My family did the best they could to find a defense attorney on the budget they had. He did a horrible job representing the facts of the case. So many issues were confused, and he could have straightened most of them out by just asking the right questions.

There were holes in the testimony of the witnesses. The coursed testimony of one witness on record was in exchange for dropped charges in his own case. The court denied cross-examination because he was a juvenile. In a Supreme Court case, a landmark decision, Davis vs. Alaska, clearly states that a witness on stand can be confronted about any pending charges. In state cases, you have a sixth amendment right to cross-examine a witness in trial. The trial court did not let me confront him about his own dropped pending charges. We were not able to show the jury that he had a motive to testify favorably for the state.

My attorney even mixed up what line of defense he was going to take and changed it mid stream from innocent to accidental shooting, which ended up confusing the jury even more. It sounded like I had lied all along, but I believed the attorney knew what he was doing. At first, he suggested that the fatal shot came from across the street. This was inconsistent with the coroners report that showed a close range shot with powder burns present. My lawyer should have considered this available information when he entered the plea. All along, I said that I did it and it was an accident!

Again, by the advice given me not to take the state plea of second Degree Murder, but hold out for the Manslaughter charge, misrepresented. If I knew that I could spend the rest of my life in prison, I would have taken the plea offer from the state. Most importantly, the only instructions given the jury were on the two options of purposeful killing. A non-purposeful killing Manslaughter charge is what my defense was based on. The Jury had no instruction on the manslaughter/ nonpurposeful charge, nor did they realize it was an option!

The sentence now being carried out reflects 1st degree murder. The statutes have changed in the state of Missouri on what constitutes a 1st degree charge. The prosecutor was never able to prove that this was a premeditated murder. The court was incorrect in its verdict. I was unsuccessful in getting the charge changed to Manslaughter by filing appeals. My status would have been time served by now if they would agree to the manslaughter charge, and I would be enjoying a second chance at life with my family. I do not think I should spend the rest of my life in prison for a crime that I did not try to commit. I feel that if I had effective representation at trial and the trial court would not have made so many mistakes, I would not have to be fighting for my life right now.

I have completed every class and educational program available and have done positive things over the past eighteen years to better myself. I would never make the same mistakes I made as a teenager. As an adult, I try to be a mentor and counselor to younger individuals with problems. I plan to give back to the community by continuing to counsel troubled youths, and those that could benefit from my experiences upon my release.

I am asking all sympathizers and organizations to support me in my clemency to Governor of the State of Missouri, Mat Blunt. I was entitled to a fair trial. My trial counsel was an essential part of me having a fair trial, but did not represent me well enough to get my charges to what they should have been. Anyone with a reasonable mind, after looking at all of the relevant facts, would agree that my trial counsel was ineffective during trial. Without a doubt, his negligence prejudiced my entire trial by putting before the jury the inconsistency of two different theories of defense. Regardless of what my trial counsel may have thought, he never should have presented negative evidence or witnesses that were inconsistent with my testimony after I had testified before the jury.

Clemency is what I am humbly asking for, and would appreciate your support.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to make a difference in my life. I would be happy to forward any documentation to support inconsistencies that were present at trial for your inspection.

Anthony Shaw


I hereby request that Anthony Shaw be released from prison. I am signing this petition with clear mind and conscience, and support Mr. Shaws request for release, and a second chance at life. Mr. Shaws deserves to have his voice heard. If the supportive documentation proves to be correct, his status should have been Manslaughter and not a life sentence. Please grant his clemency.

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Bridgette MccartyBy:
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