Laurel man sentenced to 25 years in prison in attack on his ex-wife

She was beaten, stabbed with golf club last year

March 14, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Exceeding state guidelines, an Anne Arundel County judge handed down a 25-year prison sentence yesterday to a barber who nearly killed his ex-wife with a golf club in a rage in front of their children.

Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck told David Keith Clark that he did not believe the Laurel man's contention that he showed up uninvited at his ex-wife's doorstep at 9:30 p.m. June 17 with a Ping golf putter in hand to play miniature golf with his children.

The judge said David Clark's visit was marked by an "evil intention."

Manck suspended 15 years of incarceration and ordered five years of probation. State sentencing guidelines called for 12 to 20 years in prison for what could have been a life sentence for attempted first-degree murder.

An investigation before the sentencing hearing suggested that the attack was so vicious that the penalty should exceed guidelines.

Clark beat his ex-wife with the golf club until the putter's head broke off. Then he stabbed her repeatedly with the club's sharp shaft, stopping to turn his ire and weapon on his former mother-in-law as two of his children watched.

"I just snapped, and I lost it," David Clark, 39, told Manck yesterday. "I am not making any excuses."

Assistant State's Attorney Pamela K. Alban said the attack on Army Maj. Placidia M. Clark, a nurse, and her mother was among the most cold-blooded and arrogant she had prosecuted.

In an assault that caused brain trauma leading to a seizure, Clark suffered a broken hand, permanent eye damage, a punctured lung, severe jaw injuries and other injuries for which she is being treated.

She spent 10 days at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, a month at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and several weeks in intensive physical therapy at a Veterans Affairs facility, then underwent outpatient therapy.

Alban said David Clark was furious about losing control over his former wife, incessantly calling her and dropping by unannounced. The couple had divorced six months before the attack.

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