Hare guilty in stabbing death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 5, 2015

A local murder trial ends in a guilty verdict for a man accused of stabbing another man to death in 2013.

A jury found Melvin Hare, 49, guilty of depraved heart murder. Hare repeatedly stabbed Roy Clark on Aug. 26, 2013 outside a mutual friend’s home in Vicksburg.

During the closing arguments, the attorneys said the altercation between Hare and Clark, who did not know each other personally, began when Clark went to his ex-girlfriend’s home and found Hare there. They said Clark didn’t enter the home but stayed in the yard, and Hare and the woman were on the porch when Clark confronted them verbally.

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The woman testified she tried to hold Hare back, but before she knew it the men were fighting. The 911 call seems to support this with Hare being heard saying ‘let me go,’ but the defense attorney Kim Nailor questioned whether Hare was addressing the woman or Clark.

In her closing arguments, Nailor said Hare was trying to get away from Clark and leave the residence when he acted in self-defense by stabbing Clark.

District attorney Ricky Smith said Clark probably should never have gone to the residence, but it didn’t justify him being stabbed 20 times, which resulted in his disembowelment. Smith maintains Clark didn’t physically attack Mare, and Mare had to take the time to open up the knife to stab Clark.

The jury had the option of convicting Hare with one of three different charges, which were depraved heart murder, culpable negligence manslaughter or with self-defense. Smith said there is a fine line between depraved heart murder and culpable negligence manslaughter, but he believes the crime was indeed murder as the jury also concluded.

“We’re just very happy that the jury agreed with us as far as the verdict,” Smith, who tried the case along with assistant district attorney Bert Carraway, said.

Carraway commended the attentiveness of the jury and for them taking their duties seriously.

“The jury really paid attention and took notes,” Carraway said.

The trail started Monday and the verdict was read around 4:30 p.m. Thursday to a courtroom full of Clark’s family.

“He had a large family who all loved him,” Smith said. “We’re happy to bring justice to his family.”

Some of his brothers and sisters in attendance were Juanita B. Davis, Linda Diane Clark, Earnestine Kennedy, Dorothy Streeter, Clarence and Jacqueline Moore.

“We’re going to miss our brother,” Clarence Moore said. “We waited a long time for justice, but justice finally came and it came today.”

They all said they were glad justice has been served and wanted to thank everyone in the District Attorney’s office, especially victim assistance coordinator Brenda Theriot, for all their hard work.

“I’m just thankful to God that it turned out like this,” Davis said. “We can not bring him back but at least he [Hare] will pay for it.”

“I will miss him, and I think about him everyday,” Kennedy said remembering her brother’s smile. “I’m glad he is getting justice because he didn’t deserve what he got.”

Hare will be sentenced Thursday, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. and faces a maximum sentence of 40 years.

“As a family we loved our brother, and we’re happy this is over so we can kind of go on with our lives,” Clark said.