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State v. Clark

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

October 2, 2019

STATE OF LOUISIANA
v.
SAM CLARK, JR.

          APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-SEVENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST. LANDRY, NO. 16-K-1269-D HONORABLE D. JASON MECHE, DISTRICT JUDGE

          Douglas Lee Harville Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Sam Clark, Jr.

          Sam Clark, Jr. In Proper Person David Wade Correctional Center COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Sam Clark, Jr.

          Earl B. Taylor District Attorney Kathleen E. Ryan Assistant District Attorney Twenty-Seventh Judicial District Court COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: State of Louisiana

          Court composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, Shannon J. Gremillion, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.

          VAN H. KYZAR JUDGE

         Defendant, Sam Clark, Jr., appeals his sentence of forty years incarceration at hard labor following his conviction for manslaughter for the killing of his former wife. For the reasons set forth, we affirm the conviction and sentence.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On June 20, 2016, Defendant, Sam Clark, Jr., was charged by bill of indictment with the second degree murder of his wife, Kimberly Perkins Clark, in violation of La.R.S. 14:30.1. Jury selection began on September 24, 2018. Following a two-day trial, Defendant was found guilty of the responsive verdict of manslaughter on September 26, 2018.

         On November 13, 2018, the trial court sentenced Defendant to forty years at hard labor. Defendant filed a "Motion to Reconsider Sentence" on December 7, 2018, arguing that his sentence was excessive, as follows:

In sentencing the defendant, the Court failed to take into consideration all of the mitigating factors pursuant to the sentencing guidelines and sentenced the defendant to a term of imprisonment in excess of a term that would be considered reasonable for the facts of this case and, therefore, is cruel and unusual punishment.
The defendant seeks reconsideration of this sentence as being excessive under the circumstances.

         A hearing was held on Defendant's motion on January 24, 2019. Counsel for Defendant presented no new evidence during the hearing but urged "that the court reconsider the forty year period based on the evidence that was submitted to the court at the prior sentencing." The trial court denied the motion, noting that "in [its] mind it should have been murder and [it] felt that sentence fit what the facts showed during the case."

         The facts as presented during the trial and as noted by the trial court at sentencing show that Defendant shot his wife twice in the back of the head, then threw her body off a bridge, where she ultimately died from drowning. At trial, Defendant successfully argued that the murder occurred in sudden passion ...


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