:: NBC 15 Online | Teen murder suspect goes before judge ::

Teen murder suspect goes before judge

April 12, 2007

(BAY MINETTE, Ala.) April 12 — A deaf teen accused of killing his father may not be in jail much longer. Casey Clark, 19, waives his right to a preliminary hearing. That move could help Clark reunite with his family, sooner.
Christy Scarpitti, Clarks cousin, says: “It’s hard to look at him like that.” Arriving at a court hearing in handcuffs, Casey Clark goes before a judge on Thursday for a preliminary hearing. “He is one loving boy. He would do anything for anybody,” said Scarpitti.

Because of his hearing impairment, all of the court actions are relayed to him through sign language so that Casey understands what’s going on. “They have taken great pains to see certain adjustments have been made, accommodations have been given,” says Casey’s attorney, Jim Sears.

Casey is accused of murdering his father, Wilbur Clark. Investigators say he shot his father in the chest with a .357 revolver last month, but family members say it wasn’t murder. “There was no anger that day, no anger that day. It was an accident,” says Evelyn Sanders.

Instead of telling the judge that, Casey waves his rights to the preliminary hearing in exchange for a reduced bond. That way he can be released and stay with family members. The district attorney’s office says, however, Casey must first undergo psychological evaluations to make sure he’s not a danger to himself or to others. Once he is released from jail, he must remain under house arrest and must wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle.

“He will live in the community. So, it was a good agreement for everyone,” says Sears. “We’re not sure where Casey will go from here.” Family members say whoever he stays with, Casey will be working with a church pastor who will be ministering to him through sign language.

Because Casey waved his rights to the preliminary hearing, a grand jury will now hear the evidence in the case and decide whether to indict Casey on murder charges for the death of his father.

CLICK HERE to view more of the interview with defense attorney Jim Sears.

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