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Jurors found a Hampden man guilty Monday of murder in the shooting death of his sister-in-law last year.
The jury of eight men and four women deliberated less than two hours before rejecting the defense team’s argument that Philip Clark, 56, was guilty of manslaughter in the death of Renee Henneberry Clark, 49, on July 11, 2018. Instead, they found he had killed her intentionally or knowingly, as the prosecution maintained throughout a trial that lasted more than a week.
Clark, who did not react when the verdict was read, confessed to police that he pulled the trigger after she pushed “every frigging button she could” until he snapped and shot her 10 times.
He did not take the stand in his own defense.
Members of Henneberry Clark’s family wept quietly as the verdict was read, but declined to speak with reporters after the verdict was announced.
In his instructions Monday, Superior Court Justice William Stokes agreed to give jurors the option of finding Clark not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter, which is a lesser charge included in a murder indictment.
Defense attorney David Bate said Clark’s conviction would be appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which is standard in murder cases.
Following the verdict, Bate described his client as “a normal, nice guy.”
“He really did get caught up in a divorce machinery that was not of his making and he really was a victim of that,” he said. “He’s always taken full responsibility for his conduct and he thought he was entitled to the benefit of the doubt on certain things. The jury saw it otherwise. They worked very hard. We’re grateful for their service but certainly disappointed.”
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who prosecuted the case, said that she was pleased with the verdict.
“At first blush, this looked like a very straight-forward murder case, but the defense generated a lot of issues for jurors to think about,” she said. “In the end they found him guilty of intentional or knowing murder.”
The events leading up to Henneberry Clark’s death began June 15, 2018, when she took out a protection from abuse order against her husband and he moved out of the apartment they shared in Hampden.
Henneberry Clark had attempted to take out a protection from abuse order against Philp Clark, but it was denied because the law covers spouses, domestic partners and dating partners, but not brothers-in-law. However, a criminal trespass order against Philip Clark was in place when she was killed.
Henneberry Clark’s body was found two days after she died in the bedroom of her apartment at 557 Kennebec Road in Hampden. Clark lived in an adjoining apartment.