Judge orders Owls Head man held without bail after police say he contacted witnesses from jail

Posted Dec. 24, 2013, at 11:31 a.m.
Steven E. Clarke
Knox County Jail
Steven E. Clarke

ROCKLAND, Maine — A 49-year-old Owls Head man with an extensive criminal record will be held without bail after the prosecution accused him of making multiple telephone calls from jail to get witnesses to change their testimony.

Steven E. Clarke appeared in Knox County Superior Court on Dec. 20 for an initial appearance on domestic assault and bail violation charges. At that hearing, the state announced it had filed a motion to revoke his bail for the new charges of tampering with a witness and violation of bail.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm ruled that the state had provided reasonable cause and he ordered Clarke held without bail.

Clarke has been held in jail unable to make the $5,000 cash bail imposed in November on the domestic assault and bail violation charges.

Before his arrest in November, Clarke had been free on bail awaiting trial on charges of aggravated criminal trespass, burglary, domestic violence assault and tampering with a witness.

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Baroody said Friday that Clarke was transferred to the Somerset County Jail after that arrest and the sheriff’s office there began looking into telephone records and found that Clarke had been having extensive contact with people connected to his criminal cases. The jail listened to the recordings of those conversations and heard that he contacted one victim and instructed her on what to say and to claim that police pressured her into making the incriminating statements that she made. In another call, he contacted a man and asked him to contact another victim and convince her not to testify.

According to an affidavit filed by Rockland police for the November domestic assault case, an 18-year-old woman said she had dated Clarke for about six weeks but broke up with him about two weeks earlier because he had become controlling and was calling her bad names. The woman said when she met Clarke in Rockland after the break up, he grabbed her by the neck and swore at her, according to the affidavit.

Baroody said bail needed to be revoked because Clarke’s actions toward the victim were undermining the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Clarke’s attorney Roger Hurley said the state was taking the comments out of context. He said there were no witnesses to the alleged domestic assault from November other than the woman and she has told him that the statements to police were bogus.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

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