Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wife-beater sentenced to 10 years in prison. (Video)

Lowndes County Circuit Judge Jim Kitchens sentenced Brian Clark to serve 16 years in prison for the beating of his wife, Dr. Hope Clark.  Clark pleaded guilty to Aggravated Assault-Domestic Violence in May.  Judge Kitchens suspended six years of the sentence and also required him to serve five years of post-release supervision.  Clark will be eligible for release for prison upon serving five years of his sentenced under HB #585. 

Brian Clark confers with attorney

One key feature of this hearing was the victim's recommendation for a sentence.  She asked Judge Kitchens to impose the maximum sentence in her Victim's Impact Statement that was submitted in February but asked the court Friday to sentence her husband to serve a few years in prison and hold a suspended sentence under his head.  Prosecutor Lindsay Clemons told the court that the victim said her family was pressuring her to recommend the maximum sentence.  Ms. Clemons later asked the court to sentence him to serve 16 years in prison and to disregard the victim's desire for a lighter sentence.  The maximum sentence is twenty years.  The couple is still married although they filed for divorce in 2012.

The hearing began with the defense asking Judge Kitchens to recuse himself. Judge Kitchens set sentencing for November 13 but held a status hearing on September 1.  He asked the victim at that hearing to decide if she wanted him sentenced on September 8 or November 13.  She said she preferred September 8.  Clark's lawyer, Rob Ray, argued that neither side asked for the sentencing to be moved up to September 8 and that Judge Kitchens was doing so in response to publicity about the case.  Ray said that Judge Kitchens should recuse himself and accused him of being affected by anonymous comments on this website.  Yup.  Clark's lawyer blamed this website.  Judge Kitchens denied the motion.  He said that he knew either of the parties and none of them donated money to his campaigns.  Judge Kitchens pointed out that a defendant can appeal a guilty plea but not a sentence.

Ms. Clemons provided the details of that violent night in 2013.  She said that the couple went out to dinner that night and "were drinking."  They came home and went to bed.  An argument started and Brian dragged Hope by her hair out of the bed. He repeatedly bashed Hope's head against the corner of a door frame.  He then dragged her to the bathtub and tried to rinse her off.  She ran to her mom's house wearing nothing but a towel.  Both of her children were in the home (one child is from a previous marriage.) He left the home with their child and drove to Wayne County.  She went to the emergency room around midnight.  Her body was covered with lacerations and bruises.  Doctors used 18 staples to treat the head laceration. 

The police came to the ER and the Clark home.  They found large amounts of blood in several areas.  Brian called her while she was in the ER.  The police answered her phone and told him to surrender himself to law enforcement but he refused to do so.   Brian said she fell and hit her head on the door.  Clark was eventually arrested and posted a $20,000 bond.

The case was continued no less than fifteen times.  Brian Clark's family owns Clark Oil & Gas and his uncle, Don Clark, is the CEO of Butler Snow.  

The prosecution introduced his past criminal history.  He was under a non-adjudication order due to a DUI arrest in Scott County.  There was no evidence that Scott County took any action against Mr. Clark after this arrest.  He had misdemeanor arrests in Newport Beach, California but was on probation.  He was also arrested back in 2009 for obstruction, DUI, and DUI drugs.  Several of these convictions were apparently expunged.  A copy of a 2016 Okaloosa County restraining order that alleged multiple acts of violence against the victim  was presented to the judge as well.  Mr. Ray objected to the introduction of some of Clark's criminal history but Ms. Clemons said the rules of evidence don't apply to sentencing.

Judge Kitchens took a three-hour break for lunch and to read the numerous letters that were submitted to the court.  He said that "I've never had this much interest in a case around sentencing."  Ms. Clemons said Dr. Clark was "too emotionally entangled" to make a sentencing recommendation.  Dr. Clark told her she still loves him but it has to stop.  Dr. Clark was not present in the courtroom although she was present in the courthouse and had a conference with both attorneys.  Judge Kitchens also interviewed her son in his chambers.  Ms. Clemons said the Clarks are not reconciled nor back together.

Judge Kitchens repeatedly said at both September hearings that he defers greatly to the victim's wishes in domestic violence cases. Ms. Clemons said the victim's wishes should carry less weight in certain circumstances due to certain factors.  She said the longer Brian Clark is away from women, the safer they will be.  "No evidence suggests he will do anything different" she said.  Mr. Clemons said Hope Clark asked the Judge to be as lenient as he could be.  This request was in direct conflict with her victim's impact statement and is the main reason the prosecution asked the Judge to discount her recommendation.   

Mr. Ray said that Brian should get credit for pleading guilty and not forcing his wife to testify in a trial.  He said he immediately went to anger management classes.  He has gone through demonization and humiliation in the media.  He said the case was heart-wrenching and that his client was never convicted of a felony.

Brian Clark stood up after Mr. Ray finished his closing argument and addressed Judge Kitchens.  He said that what he did haunted him every day since it happened.  However, Judge Kitchens was unmoved by his statement.  Judge Kitchens said Brian pleaded guilty to a felony that was later expunged in Forrest County.  He has a history of drug and alcohol abuse.  The misdemeanor arrests and restraining order were mentioned by Judge Kitchens as well.  The Judge said "The Court has concerns about Mr. Clark."  He also mentioned that Brian would be eligible for release after serving only half of his sentence.

Judge Kitchens wrapped it all up by sentencing Brian Clark to serve 16 years in prison but suspended six years of the setnence.  He ordered him to avoid all contact with Dr. Clark and Erin Treadwell. *  A post-release supervised period of five years was also imposed on Brian.  

Brian Clark removed his tie, belt, and coat.  Several deputies escorted him from the courtroom to the penal phase of his life.

*Ms. Treadwell obtained the restraining order against him in Florida.

Kingfish note: Don't forget the little stunt that Representative and Ways & Means Chairman Jeff Smith (R-Columbus) pulled.  Dr. Clark filed her victim impact statement on February 23.  Mr. Smith, whose daughter works for Butler Snow, filed an entry of appearance and a motion for continuance on February 24.  He claimed that he couldn't attend any court proceedings until the legislature was out of session.  Hmm... perhaps someone should check the legislative attendance records against his court appearances over the last few years. 

This is the video of the actual sentencing.

These two videos cover the motion for Judge Kitchens to recuse himself and a discussion of what the victim wants the court to do.

Here is the evidence of the crime:


Anonymous said...

She got more stiches in her head than he got years in prison.
Filed for divorce in 2012. Wow. Why does it take so long to get divorce?

Anonymous said...

@12:28 cause this is MS. I've been trying for 4 years. He refuses to sign. He won't work 40 hours, wants to play with his friends. But MS tells me i must support him till death do us part.

Kingfish said...

That is the problem with domestic violence cases. If there is a marriage or divorce involved, then the abuser will use that as leverage. Abuser will threaten to not sign things, give a divorce, fight over custody, or not agree to property settlements and child support unless the wife agrees to drop charges (which is harder to do now) or recommend a light sentence.

Anonymous said...

Now that he is officially sentenced and will be incarcerated, it appears she will have a bullet-proof fault based ground for divorce (although the 3/4 inch wide gash in her head should have been a sufficient ground to begin with). Give that girl the divorce she deserves.

Anonymous said...

Mark 10:2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

Anonymous said...

to the hard luck story at 12:41..... remember my dear, the leading cause of divorce is marriage.

Anonymous said...

@12:49 - What does the victims divorce and the case mentioned above have in common?? There is a damn elected greater than thou overly high opinion of themselves judge involved.

Therein lies the reason it takes so long to get a divorce, criminal tried, estate settled etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Ray said that Judge Kitchens should recuse himself and accused him of being affected by anonymous comments on this website. Yup. Clark's lawyer blamed this website.

Quick, someone, alert the Harpy.

Anonymous said...

off to prison he goes, but make no mistake about it. shortly before phil bryant leaves office attorney haley barbour will file a commutation of sentence petition on his behalf. shortly thereafter this thugs family will write a six-figure check to the mississippi republican party. and on bryants last day in office his sentence will be commuted and he will be turned loose.like it or not people, that is how the game is played. don't be so nieve. and don't blame the judge or the district attorney. they will have no control over this. does the name karen irby ring a bell? is your memory that short?

Anonymous said...

off to prison he goes, but make no mistake about it. shortly before phil bryant leaves office here in a couple of years, haley barbour will file a petition to commute his sentence with bryants office. next the thugs family will write a six figure check to the mississippi republican party . and finally , on his last day in office, bryant will commute the remainder of his sentence and he will be turned loose. like it or not people , thats the way the game is played. don't be so nieve. does the name karen irby ring a bell? is your memory really that short? don't blame this on the judge or the district attorney. they have no control of a governors commutation of sentence .

Anonymous said...

@6:11 I love your new spin on the iteration of "don't hate the player, hate the game", but can you tell the rule/law makers of said game that we need a serious upgrade on the rules of the divorce "game" in MS?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

and people wonder why marriage rates have fallen so much. Divorce is a form of extortion.

Anonymous said...

Classic. Husband over and over inflicts injuries with the potential to be fatal, no doubt in front of the children, wife wants everything to be storybook so she goes easy on him, they stay together even after filing for divorce, husband eventually succeeds in killing her, sons grow up understanding it's OK to beat women to death, daughters grow up understanding their role, cycle is repeated.

Anonymous said...

to 6:11.. that post is not a comment on a stinking divorce . it is to let you and the "rule/law" makers know just how his criminal sentence will end up. so, you want me to 'tell' them? i just did.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

kingfishes work on this story had been reporting on the criminal prosecution and sentencing of a thug, not a soap opera divorce. yet the vast majority of the comments here all center around a divorce, between the perp and the victim. the reason for that is that marriage and divorce is the favorite pastime in this state , right up there with college football scandals and cheating on you spouse.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered if a judge would give the same sentence if this had happened to his mother, daughter or loved one. That man deserved a year for every bruise and wound on her body. Period!

Anonymous said...

Lock his a$$ up...I have 0 tolerance for men who beat on women...It's also clear this guy has been reading Ike Turner's manual on conflict resolution...

Anonymous said...

"....immediately went into conflict resolution class." Bull SHIT!

Anonymous said...


You're continued coverage of this has been excellent, it being something I would have never seen in the local print/TV media. I'm not easily shocked but the injury to that woman's scalp and blood stained walls turned my stomach and I find it appalling that a man could do that to any woman, much less his wife and the mother of his children. No jokes about what he'll face in prison, but thankfully he cannot harm anymore women, and maybe, although unlikely, he'll have an epiphany and emerge a change person.

It would be good to see a roundup/update of all the other civil/criminal litigation you've followed.

Anonymous said...

Guess I’m lucky, my ex-wife didn’t want to sign, I just told her that’s fine I will add cause to it and take her to court. She then signed. But for some reason I’ve stayed away from marriage again. This sick fellow needs not ever be let out of jail. After seeing those pics, he’s lucky he will have a chance to get out in five years. Hope he’s beat everyday he’s in the pokie...

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