Defense attorney: Clark case compromised

Published 3:02 pm Monday, August 2, 2010

Court officials implied last week that the Jay Clark V murder case was compromised to the point that the case couldnt be tried.

Ida Hays Clark received a suspended sentence last Thursday after pleading guilty to felony breaking and entering, felony larceny, conspiracy to commit voluntary manslaughter, solicitation to commit voluntary manslaughter and felony possession of a motor vehicle in connection with the murder of her brother Jay Clark V in 2006. Her then boyfriend, Trent Miller, pled guilty last year to second degree murder and received a minimum of 13 years in prison.

Judge Phillip Ginn said the outcome of the case was not what anyone wanted to see, but from what he knows of the case some peoples hands were tied.

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District Attorney Jeff Hunt released a statement following the sentencing last week (see p. 4 for the full statement) and said a prosecutors case can only rise as high as the admissible probative evidence and in the Clark case, prosecutors found that they could not prove the premeditation required for first degree murder.

This case extended due to unusual circumstances not in our control, Hunt said, across three sheriffs administrations. This did affect the investigation, somewhat, as there was a turnover of investigatory officers.

Last Thursday during Hays Clarks plea, defense attorney Lee Atkins questioned the defendants brother, George Clark, regarding reports that he saw evidence in the case, made photocopies and threw away items. (See p. 6 for a letter to Atkins from senior assistant district attorney Charlie C. Walker.)

Clark said he was allowed by then sheriff Chris Abril to make copies of letters for handwriting samples, but he discarded only a piece of photocopied paper that that got stuck in the machine.

Do you realize your conduct compromised the prosecutions case? Atkins asked.

Im not aware of that, George Clark said.