2 May 2006 – Joseph Lewis Clark

Joseph Lewis ClarkJoseph Lewis Clark was just 11 when he started his career as a criminal in Ohio. So it came as no surprise when he was finally had up for two murders and for wounding a third.

His victims were shot during armed robberies motivated by the need for drugs. And it was drugs that eventually killed him.

Mortal dread

Clark even tried to plead for his life by saying that he could go into drug counselling as a means of trying to save others from spiralling down into dependency. But when asked how his victims’ families felt he said ‘I would like to be forgiven. It was an accident’.

But shooting someone in the back of the head doesn’t sound like an accident. This was Clark’s second murder – 21-year-old Donald Harris. The first of his dead victims was David Manning, who worked at a petrol station. He handed over $60 but Clark was not convinced that that was all and demanded more. Manning finally handed over more and then he is said to have tried to overpower Clark, to which Clark shot him.

He was arrested soon after and while in custody he tried to commit suicide. It emerged during his trial that his wife had been in prison – she was earning money as a prostitute to fund his addiction. Despite a low IQ and evidence of a hard childhood, he was found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to death.

Due to his prolonged drug abuse, his executioners took virtually an hour and half to find a vein so they could give him his lethal injection. He even cried out ‘it don’t work’ during his execution’. He was finally put to death on this day in 2006, aged 57.

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