By Doug Wyllie
On February 18, 2023, Janae Edmonson—a standout 17-year-old high school volleyball player who had a promising collegiate career ahead of her in Tennessee—was visiting St. Louis (MO) to compete in a tournament. While walking to her hotel, Edmonson was struck by a car that had been struck by a vehicle recklessly speeding down a city street.
Edmonson was pinned between two vehicles, suffering catastrophic injuries to both her legs. Her quick-thinking—and military-trained—father quickly applied life-saving tourniquets before she was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Fortunately, the young woman survived.
Sadly, her legs did not—both were surgically amputated.
At the wheel of the speeding vehicle was 21-year-old Daniel Riley, who at the time of the collision was facing a host of criminal charges—including First Degree Robbery and Armed Criminal Action—but was out on bail even after violating his pre-trial bond conditions multiple times.
According to reports, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office had initially filed charges against Riley in 2020 but those charges were subsequently dismissed “because the state was not ready to proceed” and refiled in 2022. Between September 2020 and the day of the near-fatal incident in late February 2023 Riley accrued a total of at least separate 94 bond violations for his misconduct.
Clearly, Riley should not have been out on the streets, free to speed down a city street and cause a traffic collision that permanently transformed the trajectory of a young woman’s life.
A Criminal Free to Commit Crime
Late last week, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a 22-page writ of quo warranto—under Chapter 531, Rule 98 of the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure—against Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, accusing her of neglecting her duties as Circuit Attorney.
In the court document, AG Bailey stated that the young woman’s injuries “are the direct result of years of willful neglect” by Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
Bailey said further that as the Circuit Attorney, Gardner is “morally, ethically, and legally responsible for the conduct of her office. For years, the Circuit Attorney’s Office has failed to prosecute cases to resolution, has failed to inform and confer with victims, and has failed to even review and file cases submitted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.”
Late last week, Gardner declared that she had verbally told one judge to revoke Riley’s bond, but there is apparently no written record or court transcript of any such oral argument.
Indeed, just days after the tragic incident involving Riley Gardner said on Twitter that “prosecutors asked for a bond revocation, which was denied by Judge Hettenbach.”
This assertion is in direct contravention of AG Bailey’s court filing, which says that “the court’s docket sheet reveals no such request” and to make matters worse, that the day Gardner says she made such a request to the court was a Sunday. The Tweet in question has subsequently been deleted.
In addition, Bailey said that Gardner “willfully neglected her official duty or knowingly or willfully failed or refused to timely move to revoke bond and prosecute Riley” and as a result the man was not in custody—”despite an extraordinary number of bond violations”—when he caused the crash that claimed Edmonson’s legs.
A “Prosecutor” Free to Not Prosecute
In a press conference late last week, Gardner called Bailey an “unelected individual who wants to use politics to stop the voice of the people in the city of St. Louis” and added that Bailey’s effort to remove her from office is “nothing more than voter suppression.”
The inference here is that Bailey—who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the election of Attorney General Eric Schmitt to the U.S. Senate—is “playing politics” in seeking the removal of Gardner, who won re-election in 2020.
In both of her successful campaigns for office, Gardner ran on a platform of making “jail and prison a last resort, reserved for those who pose a true public safety risk,” while limiting “the arrest and detention of people accused of misdemeanors and low-level felonies.”
Like other so-called “progressive prosecutors”—including Alvin Bragg in New York, Kim Foxx in Chicago, George Gascon in Los Angeles, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia—Gardner received massive quantities of election campaign financing from liberal-billionaire-mega-donor George Soros.
According to the Missouri Times, Soros funded Gardner’s initial 2016 run for office to the tune of about $67,000, footing the bill for a video advertisement that touted a plan to “partner with mental health services to find alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders” and “reforming a broken system.”
According to KSDK-TV News, Soros then donated $116,000 to the Missouri Justice & Public Safety Political Action Committee in 2020, which subsequently funneled much of that cash into Gardner’s re-election bid.
Soros—as much as he is to blame for myriad maladies caused by his bought-and-paid-for political proxies in the criminal justice system—cannot be held fully to blame for Gardner’s electoral victory. A considerable amount of culpability rests pretty squarely with the voters, 74% of whom chose Gardner over Republican challenger Daniel Zdrodowski.
Of course, the responsibility truly lies with Kim Gardner, whose office it was that allowed a dangerous criminal to roam free on the streets of Mound City. And when the time inevitably comes to pay the monetary liability, it will be the voters—by way of taxes—who shell out the City’s financial settlement to the victim and her family.
Ultimately, though, the one individual who will have paid the highest price is Janae Edmonson. Our hearts go out to her as she begins to rebuild a life forever altered by the pathological arrogance of George Soros, the political ignorance of the voters, the criminal malfeasance of Daniel Riley, and the willful negligence of Kim Gardner.