BANGOR – A Hampden man was sentenced Tuesday for what prosecutors called the execution of his sister-in-law, and he probably will never be free again.
“It was a violent execution committed by a hateful, spiteful, remorseless killer who continues to blame Renee and others for his actions,” said Lisa Bogue, assistant attorney general for Maine who prosecuted the case with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Marchese.
The prosecutor was talking about the shooting death of Hampden resident Renee Clark, 49, at the hands of her brother-in-law, Philip Clark, 56. He was sentenced to 43 years in prison.
“No matter what the court decides today for a sentence, it can’t undo what the defendant has done,” Bogue said Tuesday. “It cannot bring back Renee. It cannot replace what has been lost by her children, her family members and the friends who knew and loved her.”
One of Clark’s daughters, Bethany Henneberry of Glenburn, started her statement by saying losing her mom “sucked” because “she was my hero.” She went on to say her brother is being treated for catatonic depression and she also is still hurting.
“I just sit on the couch, staring at the wall and think about all the things I want to accomplish but for some reason, I just can’t get up,” Henneberry said.
Clark also addressed the court, first by thanking relatives and friends seated behind him.
“Secondly, I’d like to apologize to Renee’s family,” he said. “I’m truly sorry I took her away from you. I’m truly sorry to Renee that I cut her life short.”
Clark added later, “Things just snowballed. They just happened and I can’t explain how they happened. I’ll never be able to explain that.”
Justice William Stokes began the sentencing with a message to Renee Clark’s loved ones.
“With time the anger will fade, the bitterness will fade and you will not remember your mother the way she died, but you’ll remember her for the way she lived,” Stokes said.
He went on to condemn the actions of the Rev. Anthony Cipolle, who got into a fight with Philip Clark in the hours before the shooting.
“He had an opportunity to defuse the situation,” Stokes said. “Given his position, he had an obligation, a moral obligation to try and defuse this situation and he didn’t. He inflamed it. ”
The defense argued that Clark was “tormented by his lack of justice” after a series of events leading up to the shooting, including the beating by Cipolle.
Attorney Logan Perkins, who represented Clark with David Bate, said at the beginning of the sentencing that they planned to appeal.
Since Clark is 56, it’s likely that he’ll live out the rest of his life behind bars.