LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – A domestic violence case that has been continued over a dozen times and has received statewide attention, finally comes to a close on Friday.
Judge Jim Kitchens sentences a Waynesboro man to 16 years behind bars, with six of those years suspended.
Sentencing for Brian Clark has been continued many times, including last week.
Clark entered a guilty plea in May, but getting justice took a little longer.
“It’s been four long years and we’ve been trying to put this to justice for that long. District Attorney Colom has done a great job,” says the victim’s uncle, John Younger.
It’s been four years almost to the day, since Clark beat his wife, Dr. Hope Clark, inside her Lowndes County home, while their 18-month old and her ten-year old son were there.
Now, Brian Clark will begin paying for what he did.
Dr. Clark’s aunt, Jessica Younger, says her niece and children can start living life without looking over their shoulders.
“Huge relief, like the weight of the world was just off all of us. I think, yeah, just still kind of, I guess in a state of disbelief, but just so grateful.”
Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Clemons says domestic violence cases are troubling and this one in particular was very difficult.
“The victim felt really conflicted about what she wanted to have happen. I think that is a classic case of a battered spouse. I think she has a child with the defendant and from her perspective, anything she requested was functionally asking the court to send away the father of her child.”
The case has been continued many times and Brian’s attorney tried to delay it once more on Friday, by asking Judge Jim Kitchens to recuse himself from the case.
However, Judge Kitchens found no reason for that and sentencing continued and ended with a resolution in the case.
“I think that any man who hits a woman, should go to prison. In this case, the injuries were severe. He literally split her scalp right down the middle and drove drunk from the scene with his 18-month old child to avoid getting arrested,” says Clemons.
Clemons says Clark should be in prison for as long as it takes to keep other women safe.
“That’s really the thing that is only going to get through to him. A hefty fine isn’t going to do it, probation is not going to do it. He has shown that he has a history of violence toward women. He committed another act of domestic violence, while awaiting disposition of this sentence.”
Clark also has to pay a $2,500 dollar fine and court costs, and avoid all contact with Dr. Clark, unless it pertains to their child.
Judge Kitchens also requests that the Mississippi Department of Corrections assess Clark to see if there is a need for counseling when he gets out of prison.