BANGOR – The murder trial for a Hampden man got underway on Friday and in an unusual twist, the defendant apparently is admitting he shot his sister-in-law.
The defense team for Philip Clark, 56, says it’s the incidents that led up to the shooting that are important.
“Circumstances matter and the state has the responsibility of proving their case and establishing sufficient evidence to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that he did this intentionally or knowingly,” Logan Perkins, who along with David Bate are representing Clark, said during a break in the trial. “And that there weren’t other circumstances involved that form a defense.”
Clark is charged with murder in the July 2018 shooting death of his sister-in-law, Renee Clark, 49. The two lived in separate apartments in a former store located on the corner of Kennebec and Monroe roads in Hampden.
Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue said in her opening statement that detectives recorded Clark’s confession.
“In his own words, you will hear him say, ‘I kept pulling the trigger until I killed her,’” the prosecutor told the jury.
Bogue, who is prosecuting the case with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese, added later, “Renee was shot 10 times. Twice to her head, one perforating her brain, leaving a bullet in her hair.”
Dr. Kristin Sweeney, a pathologist for Maine’s medical examiner’s office, was one of the first to testify in the trial that trial is expected to last at least a week. She described other gunshot wounds to Clarks’ right cheek, abdomen, right arm and leg.
Perkins said a series of interactions between Philip and Renee Clark, the Rev. Anthony Cipolle and local police were like filling an emotional bucket for her client.
“A little more gets added, and a little more gets added until it dumps,” she told the jury, as a video image of an overflowing bucket of water was played.
“His livelihood was taken, he’s being pushed out of where he lives. He sustained a substantial physical injury at the hands of a catholic priest,” Perkins added later.
She told the jury, “He pulled that trigger in a blind rage … He describes it as: He just saw red.”
The prosecution’s version is very different.
“Philip Clark shot at Renee seven or eight times until he emptied the gun,” Bogue said. “And then he reloaded.