BANGOR – After a seven-day trial, it didn’t take long for a jury to determine a Hampden man was guilty of murder.
Philip Clark, 56, was charged in the July 2018 shooting death of his sister-in-law, Renee Clark. After the verdict was read, her family broke into quiet tears.
“This case is about how his conduct was driven by forces beyond his control. Forces not of his own making,” David Bate, the defense attorney for Philip Clark, said in his closing arguments. “He was tormented by a lack of justice.”
The defense argued that a series of events led up to the shooting, including a beating at the hands of a Catholic priest just hours beforehand.
“If there’s a reasonable doubt that that abnormal condition of the mind prevented him from acting intentionally or prevented him from acting knowingly, he was actually acting in response to a stimulus that he didn’t understand,” Bate said. “If he was acting in response to hyper-arousal under the concussion, then that’s an abnormal condition of the mind.”
The prosecution described the shooting as an execution, and said the accused was tormented by minor events.
“This is what we are talking about – missing tools, [his brother] Frank not living at 557 [Kennebec Road] for three weeks, he’s not allowed in her apartment, he lost a fight, and she laughed at him,” Deputy District Attorney Lisa Marchese said in her closing arguments. “That’s what we’re talking about here. That’s the injustice that Philip Clark suffered.”
Both the prosecution and the defense agreed that Clark shot his sister-in-law, but his defense team tried to argue that he should not be held accountable because he had a temporary abnormal condition of the mind.
“You can do a terrible thing but there is more to a murder case than doing a terrible thing,” said Clark’s attorney, Logan Perkins.
She added later, “I anticipate there will be an appeal. It will be on legal issues.”
Renee Clark, 49, was shot 10 times and that required Philip Clark to reload his 9 mm handgun.
“The defense brought up a lot of things for the jury to think about but I was confident that they would wade through and recognize this as the execution that it was,” Marchese said.