Oct 8, 2015 – Weekly Capitol Update


Four days before Kimber Edwards was scheduled to die by lethal injection, Gov. Jay Nixon on Oct. 2 commuted his death sentence to life in prison without possibility for parole. Edwards was convicted of hiring another man to kill his ex-wife, Kimberly Cantrell, in August 2000, but his guilt has been called into question in recent weeks.

Orthell Wilson testified Edwards hired him to kill Cantrell. Wilson, who is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole for the crime, has since recanted his testimony and said he acted alone when he killed Cantrell, with whom he was having a relationship, following an argument. In an affidavit, Wilson said he agreed to implicate Edwards in exchange for prosecutors agreeing to spare Wilson from the death penalty. In a statement announcing the commutation, Nixon didn’t specify his reasons for granting clemency and said he still believes Edwards is guilty.

“After a thorough review of the facts surrounding the murder of Kimberly Cantrell, I am convinced the evidence supports the jury’s decision to convict Kimber Edwards of first-degree murder,” Nixon said. “At the same time, however, I am using my authority under the Missouri Constitution to commute Edwards’ sentence to life without the possibility of parole. This is a step not taken lightly, and only after significant consideration of the totality of the circumstances. With this decision, Kimber Edwards will remain in prison for the remainder of his life for this murder.”



A proposed new riverfront football stadium in downtown St. Louis hasn’t yet been approved, let alone built, and it’s unclear if the city will even have a National Football League team to play in it if it is. But the stadium does have a name.

St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings on Oct. 6 agreed to a 20-year, $158 million deal under which the new stadium would be called National Car Rental Field. “Today’s announcement is another concrete step forward and a powerful affirmation of the St. Louis business community’s strong support for this project,” Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement.

Nixon backs building a $1 billion new stadium to replace the 20-year-old, taxpayer financed Edward Jones Dome. State and city taxpayers will be asked to contribute at least $400 million to the project but no public funding has yet been approved. Some lawmakers in recent months have questioned the Nixon administration’s efforts to commit the state funding to the new stadium without legislative approval. Stadium funding is expected to be an issue when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is seeking to relocate the team back to the Los Angeles area, where it played for nearly 50 years before moving to St. Louis in 1995, and has announced plans to build a new $2 billion stadium there. However, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have a competing plan for an LA stadium the two teams would share. NFL officials have said they will endorse only one LA stadium project and the relocation of just two teams.



Net state general revenue collections for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016 increased 3.6 percent compared to the same period in 2015, going from $2.03 billion last year to $2.1 billion this year. Net general revenue collection for September 2015 increased 1.6 percent compared to those for September 2014, going from $828.5 million to $842.1 million.