A HORRIFIC CRIME OF MURDER THAT STILL HAUNTS ME BECAUSE I NEVER SOLVED IT:
The call came from the Davis, Oklahoma Police Department: “DA, we need you here ASAP. We got a situation we can’t handle. Please hurry, you’ll see two police cars just south of town.
”I drove 90 miles an hour to get there. I saw the police cars and a crowd of people in the yard. I took command and went inside the neat, two bedroom dwelling.
When I got inside I looked left and saw an overturned mattress with a bloody handprint on the one that was overturned. I feared the worst now. I went back outside and told the officers to surround the front door with yellow crime scene tape. They didn’t have any so I told them not to let anyone in the house.
I then went inside and saw a partially opened bathroom door with some bloody footprints near the door. I carefully opened the door and the sight was so bad I had nightmares for several weeks. On the bathroom floor was an elderly lady dressed in a nightgown. She was covered in blood and was obviously dead. I saw a three-legged stool that was covered with blood, human tissue and hair. “That’s what the killer used to murder this harmless old woman,” I thought.
About this time, I heard someone outside yelling, “Sir! Sir, you can’t go in there!”
I turned and saw a middle aged man stride toward the kitchen. He looked at me and said, “I’ll have some coffee ready in a minute.” He began filling a pot of water and turned on the gas stove.
I yelled at him: “Who in hell are you? Answer me or I’m arresting you right now!”
He turned and looked at me, said, “Cool it Mr. District Attorney; that’s my mother in that bathroom.
”I placed him under arrest and yelled for some handcuffs. A police officer came inside and cuffed him. I told the officer to place him in a police car and to take him to my office in Ardmore. I relented some and told the officer there was no need for the handcuffs and to remove them.
I went outside and saw Kay Evers, the crime beat reporter for the Daily Ardmoreite. She engaged me, “What do you have, James?” I replied and immediately regretted what I said: “A scene right out of the Manson murders, Kay. An elderly woman beaten to death with a three-legged stool. There’s blood, human tissue and hair all over a tiny bathroom. In fact, there’s blood on the walls, the ceiling and even on the curtains.
”Sure enough, headlines the next morning in The Daily Ardmoreite read: MANSON TYPE MURDER IN DAVIS PER DA JAMES CLARK.
We put the son of the victim on two different polygraph machines and he easily passed both. I learned he was a retired doctor living in Norman and a neighbor of his mother, concerned about her, had peeked inside her house and saw some blood and called him. I interviewed the neighbor and she confirmed the story.
I never solved the crime. A $5,000 reward brought in a lot of tips that didn’t pan out. I got several calls from psychos in other states offering to come solve the crime. I routinely hung up on them.
After those two polygraph exams and his not having a motive to kill his mother, who had only about $500 cash and her tiny house while living on a meager Social Security income, we released the doctor. I never heard from him again.
(I tell this true story in more detail in my third book, The Scales of Justice.)
-james a. clark