Miller pleads guilty to Clark murder

Published 11:25 pm Monday, November 16, 2009

Almost four years since the murder of Jay Clark V, Trent Allen Miller, 45, pled guilty to second degree murder in the case.

Judge William R. Bell handed down Monday the sentence of 157 months minimum to 198 months maximum, to be served at the N.C. Department of Corrections. Miller will be given credit for the more than three years he has already served at the Polk County Jail since he was arrested in September 2006.

In the courtroom yesterday, Miller paused when the judge asked if he is in fact guilty of second degree murder, then responded, Yes, sir.

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Several of Clarks family members&bsp; spoke to the court yesterday. Family members said they were unhappy that the state offered a plea bargain. After the court proceeding, they also said they were not happy with the sentence.

Jay Clarks aunt, son and ex-wife spoke during the hearing yesterday. They all described Jay Clark as a compassionate and kind man.

His son, Jamison Clark, said hed talked to his dad on Jan. 11, 2006, and everything was happy and everything was good. Jay Clark had told his son about possibly getting a new job, his son said. Jamison broke down, crying, and didnt finish his statements yesterday. He hugged his uncle George for a while and then apologized to the judge, but Judge Bell said there was absolutely no need for an apology.

Jay Clarks brother, George Clark, spoke to Miller, saying, Im sorry that all this happened.

He then said Jay is dead and nothing is going to bring him back, but he didnt want a plea deal in this case because he wanted to know why his brother was murdered.

George Clark said the case was covered up and family members were unaware of what was going on.

My brother was a very good man, he said.

Its been hard on us because of the gruesomeness of what happened, George Clark said.

He said Jay Clarks brains remained in the house until they were cleaned up by family members. If that wasnt bad enough, he continued, They cut off his arms and legs and tried to burn them in the fireplace.

Jay Clarks ex-wife, Elizabeth Clark, descibed Jay as her soulmate and said they always believed theyd be together again one day.

Jay would have never, ever abandoned his son, Elizabeth Clark said.

She said the worst thing is the fact that Jay Clark will never meet his grandchildren, because that would have been the joy of his life, and that his son will never know his father again.

Miller was given an opportunity to respond and said, Im sorry for everybody who has been hurt.

State prosecutor C.C. Walker gave some details on the case prior to the sentencing. Walker said Clark was 51 years old when he was killed and had been living with his sister, Ida Hayes Clark and her live-in boyfriend, Miller.

No one had seen Jay Clark since about mid-January, 2006, but Clark had left before so no report was immediately made. On Aug. 10, 2006, Jamison Clark reported his father missing and then (former) Polk County Sheriffs Det. B.J. Bayne began searching for Clark. After obtaining search warrants, the blood was discovered in the garage and a second search warrant resulted in the discovery of the body buried beside the house.

Walker reviewed statements made by Ida Hayes Clark, including her statment that she and Miller were using drugs during those times.

Ida Hayes Clark told authorities that on Jan. 13, 2006, her brother Jay Clark came to the house, kicked in the door and was both verbally and physically abusing her, Walker said. Miller got a gun and shoved Ida Hayes Clark out the door, Walker said, and she then heard what ultimately turned out to be a gunshot. Miller came back in and told Ida Hayes Clark, He wont bother you again, and told her to stay out of the garage, Walker said.

Defense attorney Michael Edney said if the case had gone to trial, the defense would have been that the killing of Jay Clark was self defense, because Miller and Ida Hayes Clark considered themselves to be married.

He was taking care of the love of his life, Edney said. Edney added for sentencing that Miller is now 45 years old and has two children who live in Florida.

Ida Hayes Clark, who was charged in Sept., 2006 with accessory after the fact of first degree murder, is still awaiting trial. She was released from jail on bond shortly after her arrest and prosecutors said yesterday it is unknown at this time when her case will be heard.