BONNE TERRE, MO (KFVS) - Convicted murderer Richard Clay speaks out for the first time for since his arrest in 1994.
Clay was convicted of killing businessman Randy Martindale of New Madrid, MO in May of that year. Clay is scheduled to die by lethal injection on January 12. However, his lawyers are asking Governor Nixon for a stay in his execution. They say there were problems with the prosecution.
Now, Clay says he wants to set the record straight.
"I would like for people to know I've always maintained my innocence," said Clay.
At the time of Clay's arrest he says the only thing he was guilty of was dealing drugs.
"When they said Randy Martindale's name it didn't even dawn on me," recalled Clay.
What happened over that night in May is a story with many different versions. We know Randy Martindale was shot four times in his bedroom, and prosecutors say Clay pulled the trigger.
In 1995, a jury found Clay guilty in a murder-for-hire plot that also included the victim's wife Stacy, and her lover Chuck Sanders. But Clay says he never went inside the house, and he isn't sure who the real shooter is.
"I don't know what went on in that house," said Clay. Clay says he was set up for the fall.
"Ricky Clay was a street thug and a drug dealer," said Clay. "I was the easiest."
Clays says the reason he and Sanders went to the Martindale house that night was because they were waiting on Stacy to bring them money for drugs. But, Sanders told the court he was not along for the ride at all. It was a ride that resulted in a high speed chase and manhunt. Clay thought the whole thing was over drugs.
"When he turned his lights on I had already drug charges pending," said Clay. "It wasn't the first time I was with somebody and I had drugs on me so I told Chuck to pull the car over and let me out."
Clay ran, but eventually the police caught up with him. He was arrested, and charged with Murder. When the case went to trial, he thought a certain piece of evidence would free him.
"When the crime lab guy said that Miss Martindale had gun powder on her hands I thought I was going home," said Clay.
But that didn't happen. Clay and his lawyers say he deserves another chance because of witnesses and evidence that they believe prosecutors withheld. They also claim there's no physical evidence linking Clay to the murder. While he's still hoping for a stay in his execution, he says he's at peace. He also says he holds no anger toward anyone.
"Leave nothing unsaid," said Clay.
No word yet on an appeal. Not everyone thinks Clay deserves another investigation. Local law enforcement officers present at the time of the manhunt in 1994 say they have the right man behind bars.
While Clay remains on death row, Stacy Martindale served 15 years and Sanders got probation.