Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis, Missouri, couple that went viral after confronting Black Lives Matter protesters on their own front lawn, pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, Thursday, and agreed to turn over their personal weapons to St. Louis authorities.
Local news reports that the pair, who were originally charged with felonies, inked the plea deal with prosecutors earlier this month despite previously pleading not guilty. A judge approved the plea deal on Thursday.
“Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to a count of fourth-degree assault, which was filed in court Thursday and is a Class C misdemeanor. He was originally charged with unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence — both felony charges,” a St. Louis NBC affiliate reported Thursday afternoon.
“Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, which is a Class A misdemeanor charge that was filed last month when a count of tampering with physical evidence was removed. She also was originally charged with unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence,” the outlet noted.
Mark McCloskey has been ordered to pay $750 in fines, and Patricia McCloskey has been ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and $10 to the St. Louis crime victims fund. The pair were also ordered to turn over the two weapons they were pictured holding in a confrontation that went viral last year. The couple’s lawyer asked that the guns either be destroyed or rendered ineffective and sold to a collector as a historical artifact.
The judge denied that request.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey confronted a group of Black Lives Matter protesters late last June at the height of national anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests. The demonstration was on its way to then-Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house, located in the same private, gated community as the McCloskey’s mansion.
The pair were captured on video holding weapons and yelling at protesters who, the McCloskey’s claim, had threatened them with physical violence and damaged a gate that led to their property.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner appeared to make an example of the McCloskey’s, charging the pair with crimes related to the confrontation. She also reportedly sent fundraising emails mentioning the pair before and after issuing charges — an action that a judge, last December, said raised “the appearance of impropriety and jeopardize[d] the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”
She claimed she was using her email list to rebut misconceptions about the McCloskey incident created by media attention. A St. Louis judge disagreed and Gardner was ultimately removed from the case.
“Ms. Gardner has every right to rebut criticism, but it appears unnecessary to stigmatize defendant – or even mention him – in campaign solicitations, especially when she purports to be responding to others,” the judge wrote of Gardner’s emails. “In fact, the case law and Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit it.”
The pair appeared on news programs to defend their actions and to speak out against what they believed to be a violent element of the Black Lives Matter movement. Mark McCloskey recently announced that he is running for Senate.