A Fentress County man — just two months after his wife pleaded guilty to murder — pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Criminal Court Friday and received a 40-year prison sentence to be served at 85%.
The plea brings to a close the fatal 2019 shooting death of a Lake Tansi woman and wounding of her brother and sister. The three shared a home off Cherokee Trail.
Kirk Douglas Clark, 37, of the Clarkrange area, stood silently before Judge Gary McKenzie as conditions of his sentencing agreement were reviewed by Assistant District Attorney Philip Hatch.
Standing at his side was his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Laura Dykes, who crafted the agreement with the state prosecutor’s office.
Clark stood quietly during the sentencing hearing, answering only “yes” or “no” to questions from the judge concerning his understanding of his rights and his understanding of what he was about to do.
Clark made no comments on the crime. Members of the victim’s family in attendance did not make impact statements.
When it was over, Clark was quietly led back to the jail in the Justice Center. His transfer to state custody is anticipated quickly.
Clark and his wife, Doneal, were arrested and later indicted in the January 2019 shooting death of Linda Lou Damewood, 74, of Cherokee Trail. Damewood was shot once with a high-powered rifle fired from outside the house into the den as she sat in a recliner, watching television.
Wounded in the incident were Damewood’s brother and sister, Andrew Shan, 63, and Ellen Cairns, 73.
Doneal Clark, 37, pleaded guilty Feb. 5 to an information charging felony murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. All additional charges were dropped in exchange for the information plea.
Doneal Clark received a life with chance for parole sentence which, under Tennessee law, translates to a minimum of 60 years in prison at 100 percent. State law allows for good behavior incentives of up to 15 percent of that sentence which drops the mandatory time incarcerated to 51 years.
Kirk Clark Friday pleaded guilty to the following: second-degree murder, a lesser included offense of first-degree, and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.
Charges of felony murder (homicide while in commission of another crime), aggravated burglary and theft of property up to $1,000 were dropped,
The only witness called to testify was TBI Special Agent in Charge Dan Friel, whose job Friday was to enter into the record evidence against Kirk Clark that would show a guilty conviction in a jury trial was most likely.
Friel was one of the investigators responding to Cherokee Dr. on Jan. 19, 2019, after Shan called E-911 and reported the shooting. Friel said he found Damewood dead in her recliner and Shan and Carns wounded.
Evidence at the scene showed that two firearms — a .22 caliber weapon and a .243 caliber weapon — were used in the shootings. A family member quickly identified the Clarks as the shooters.
Friel said evidence showed Doneal Clark shot Damewood through a window with the high-powered rifle while Kirk Clark fired the .22 caliber rifle that wounded the brother and sister.
Testimony would have shown that the guns had been taken in a theft and later returned to the owner when the owner confronted the couple.
A safe and a purse were stolen during the Damewood home burglary. The purse was recovered in rural Fentress County but the safe, that had been tossed into Clear Creek, was never recovered.
Motive for the shooting was the theft of prescription drugs and/or cash.
At the conclusion of the hearing, a family member rose and told the judge the family was thankful for all involved in the investigation and for the convictions.
Kirk Clark is to receive credit for 823 days served in jail since the date of his arrest two days after the shootings.