BANGOR – A local judge has decided that a religious diary can be used in an upcoming murder trial.
The battle was over if Hampden homicide victim Renee Clark’s religious journal could be used as evidence.
Justice William Anderson recently decided the journal is not protected.
“She was a wonderful person,” Dom Crocitto, an ex-husband of Clark who was married to her between 2004 and 2008, said in July. “She cared about children incredibly. She used to say, ‘If I ever forgot I want to work with children, remind me.’”
Phillip Clark of Hampden is accused in the July 2018 shooting of Clark, who was his sister-in-law.
Both state prosecutors and his defense attorney argued in December that her journal should be admitted as evidence.
According to court documents, Clark kept the journal at the direction of the Rev. Anthony Cipolle, a Catholic priest in Bangor who has been described as her spiritual adviser.
Clark’s defense attorney said the judge agreed both sides could have access to the journal. David Bate added, if either wanted to use the diary as evidence, they could petition the court and the court would provide the document for trial, with the appropriate redactions.
Attorney Charlie Gilbert, who is representing the priest, said he argued the journal was protected as a religious document. He said Friday that the journal is in the custody of the court.
Hampden police have said Cipolle was involved in an “altercation” with Philip Clark at the Kennebec Road apartment on July 11, 2018, the day before investigators say Clark was shot so many times she was unrecognizable.
The priest took a leave of absence from his post at the St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor in December for “personal reasons,” the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced at the time.
A request for comment from the Portland Diocese about the release of the journal was not returned.
“She believed in what she believed and was a very brave and noble person,” Crocitto said. “And she was willing to stand up and do something about it, not just talk.”
Clark’s murder trial is scheduled to start in mid-November.