The pistol Patricia McCloskey waved at protesters who broke down a gate to trespass on their private street was a non-operable 'prop' used during a lawsuit they were involved in, so a member of Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's staff ordered the crime lab to disassemble and reassemble the gun - allowing them to classify it as "capable of lethal use" in charging documents filed Monday, according to KSDK5.
In Missouri, police and prosecutors must prove that a weapon is “readily” capable of lethal use when it is used in the type of crime with which the McCloskeys have been charged.
Assistant Circuit Attorney Chris Hinckley ordered crime lab staff members to field strip the handgun and found it had been assembled incorrectly. Specifically, the firing pin spring was put in front of the firing pin, which was backward, and made the gun incapable of firing, according to documents obtained by 5 On Your Side.
Firearms experts then put the gun back together in the correct order and test-fired it, finding that it worked, according to the documents. -KSDK5
According to the report, crime lab workers photographed the disassembly and reassembly of the pistol.
The McCloskeys attorney, Joel Schwartz, told KSDK that the St. Louis couple intentionally misplaced the firing pin on the gun, rendering it inoperable. They turned the pistol in to their former attorney Al Watkins following the incident last month.
"It’s disheartening to learn that a law enforcement agency altered evidence in order to prosecute an innocent member of the community," said Schwartz.