Letter from Sr. Asst. D.A. Walker to Clark’s attorney

Published 2:59 pm Monday, August 2, 2010

Editors note: The following letter was written by Charlie C. Walker, senior assistant district attorney, to Ida Hays Clarks defense attorney, Lee Atkins, on Nov. 6, 2008.

On Wednesday of last week (Oct. 29) I received a phone call from SBI agent Steve Modlin who said that he had received information from a former Polk County Deputy that he felt I should have. This information was to the effect that George Clark, brother to the deceased in this case, had been granted access to the sheriffs investigation file and had possibly removed items from that file.

On Monday of this week I spoke with the former deputy and learned that he had no direct knowledge of the occurrence but told me that Kim Pack, a former civilian employee of the department and Tracy Aldridge, a current investigator, might have first-hand information.

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Later that day I spoke with Kim Pack. She recalled that there was an occasion when George Clark was using the copier near her workstation and had what she believed to be the Jay Clark investigation file. She observed Clark make copies and discard pieces of paper into a trash can. Later, she observed Tracy Aldridge retrieve pieces of paper from the trash can and place them in a paper shredder.

Yesterday I spoke with Tracy Aldridge. He recalled the incident in question and believes that it was in the time period of January to March of 2007. He was told that Sheriff Abril had directed that Clark be given access to the investigation file (which was kept in hard cover ringed binder) and that on the date in question Juan Hernandez, investigations supervisory at the time, gave the notebook to Clark in the investigators office area.

He remembers Clark asking Hernandez if he could go upstairs and make copies and left to do so. Aldridge later saw Clark making copies and asked Kim Pack about it and she said that the sheriff had authorized it.

Thereafter, Aldridge noticed sheets of paper in the trash can near the copier and observed that they were related to the Jay Clark homicide case. Aldridge did not believe that those documents should be left there and he removed them and placed them in a paper shredder. Aldridge does not know whether the papers he saw were originals or copies but he was uncomfortable with them remaining intact in the trash.

I spoke thereafter with an attorney who represents Juan Hernandez in another matter and he agreed to ask his client what he recalled. Today I was told that Hernandez recalls being told by Sheriff Abril that George Clark was to have access to the investigation file on an ongoing basis, and that the incident recounted by Pack and Aldridge was not the only time that Clark was allowed to see the file.

My notes reflect that I received the sheriffs file (pages 1-122 in discovery) in early January of 2007 and those pages were delivered to you on Feb. 1, 2007. Other materials were delivered to me thereafter and were provided to you on various dates including March 8, 2007, August 21, 2007 and Oct. 22, 2007. Much of that material was what had come to me through George Clark and the investigator he hired to work on this case.

I have no way of knowing what, if any, materials were removed from the sheriffs file. I can and will once again go through that file and compare it with mine to insure that you have what I have, but that cannot assure us that I got everything I was supposed to get. My examination of the facts will be further complicated by the fact that there was a 100 percent turnover of investigators during the middle of this investigation and cooperation between the two groups was nonexistent.

I have not spoken to George Clark about this and do not intend to until you decide what use you wish to make of this development. You are, of course, free to talk with whomever you choose and may make whatever use you deem appropriate of this information. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate your work.

– Charlie C. Walker, Senior Assistant District Attorney