BANGOR, Maine — The Hampden man accused of killing his sister-in-law emptied his green, .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun into her body, then reloaded and continued shooting her until he knew she was dead, according a court affidavit.
Philip Clark, 55, is charged with murder in the death last week of Renee Clark, 49, who lived in an adjacent apartment from her brother-in-law at 557 Kennebec Road. He made his first court appearance Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
After shooting his sister-in-law, Clark allegedly collected the empty cartridges from the floor of her apartment and put them in a 5-gallon bucket in his bedroom with other cartridges so they could be reloaded and used again.
The three-page affidavit does not say when Clark allegedly shot the mother of three grown children or outline a motive for the shooting. It also does not say how many times she was struck with .45-caliber bullets.
Clark was estranged from her husband, Frank “Chuck” Clark III, but had not yet filed for divorce, according to the clerk’s office at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
Hampden police began trying to locate Renee Clark on Thursday after her mother, Sharon Miley of Florida, reported that she was unable to contact her daughter, the affidavit said. Miley told police that she was “very concerned” because of a prior domestic violence history between her daughter and the defendant’s brother.
On Thursday evening, detectives went to 557 Kennebec Road, a former store that had been converted into apartments, in an attempt to locate Renee Clark, according to the affidavit. A few minutes after they knocked on a window to Philip Clark’s apartment, he came out and confessed to police.
“Without prompting, Philip Clark stated that he had shot and killed Renee Clark and her body was in her apartment,” the affidavit said.
Her bloodied body was found wrapped in clear plastic on the floor near a bed in her apartment, the affidavit said. The defendant allegedly told police that he moved the victim’s body off the bed, where she fell after being shot, and wrapped it in plastic. He also told police that he put the bloody bedding in a plastic contractor’s bag and placed it near her body, the affidavit said.
The documents did not say if Clark told police if or how he intended to dispose of Renee Clark’s body.
Philip Clark allegedly told police that he put the victim’s cellphone in the toilet before moving it to the top of his refrigerator. He also took Renee Clark’s gray 2018 Nissan Altima to the Airport Mall on Union Street in Bangor and left it there, the affidavit said. Police found the car Friday in the parking lot and seized it as evidence.
Renee Clark had sought a protection from abuse order against Philip Clark, but the statute does not apply to a brother-in-law. The law covers intimate partners, people living in the same home, or who are dating or have been dating. She did get a criminal trespass order against him, which he allegedly violated June 15.
Philip Clark did not show up for his arraignment Thursday, according to court documents. A warrant was issued for his arrest for failure to appear but had not yet been served.
Dr. Kirsten Sweeney of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on Saturday ruled the Hampden woman’s death a homicide. She said the woman believed to be Renee Clark died of multiple gunshot wounds.
As of Monday afternoon, a positive identification had not been released.
Dressed in a long-sleeved, white dress shirt and khaki pants, Philip Clark appeared at a brief hearing Monday afternoon before Superior Court Justice William Anderson. The judge ordered that Clark, who was arrested early Friday, continue to be held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail.
He was not asked to enter a plea because he has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury, which next convenes July 25.
Clark’s defense attorney, David Bate of Bangor, told reporters outside the courthouse that although there was enough evidence to charge Clark with murder, “that’s far from the proof beyond a reasonable doubt” required for a conviction.
Anderson appointed Bate and Logan Perkins of Belfast to represent Clark.
Assistant Attorney General John Alsop declined to comment on the case.
Renee Clark’s parents and children attended the brief hearing, but they declined through the victim/witness advocate to comment on the case.
A trial date has not been set.
Philip Clark is expected to appear in court again next month.
If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.
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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