by Steve Rogers/The Packet
Almost four years after he brutally bashed his then-wife against a wall, splitting open her head, a wealthy Waynesboro, Miss., man could be going to prison.
Brian Clark pleaded guilty May 16 in Lowndes County Circuit Court to aggravated domestic assault. He will be sentenced Aug. 10 when Judge Jim Kitchens holds his motions day prior to the Aug. 21 start of the summer term of circuit court.
The 37-year-old Clark, who listed on court documents that he makes $100,000 a month from his family’s oil and convenience store business, faces from two to 20 years in prison.
In an impassioned victim’s impact statement, Clark’s former wife, Hope Imes Clark, who still lives in Columbus, says prison is the only thing that will stop his violence toward women.
In her hand-written statement, filed June 12 with the court, she recalls “the countless nights I have spent re-living this nightmare, worrying about the effect this man had on my children. He had no regard for my life. He turned my bedroom into a blood bath. I think about how my 10-year-old son listened to his mother being attacked in the next room as he sat in the corner of his room with a bat in fear he was next. Then my thoughts shift to the fact that this monster was once that little boy, terrified, in the corner.” Clark wrote the statement about the Sept. 6, 2013, assault.
Pictures taken afterwards show deep gouges in her head and deep purple and black bruises to her face and eyes.
“Brian’s battering of women will not stop without consequences. Rehabs, drug courts, therapy have been ineffective,” she wrote, alleging that even after attending anger management classes, he assaulted another “intimate partner” in 2015 and has an order of protection filed against him in Florida.
“I definitely believe he needs to be removed from his current environment — home and parents’ protection — and held accountable for his actions,” she continues. “…His current environment and his parents’ continued enabling and excusing his behavior has only exacerbated his disrespect for authority and his victims.”
Saying she has a “merciful heart,” Clark admits she is torn.
“I forgive because I want to be forgiven,” she wrote. “…I am angry that Brian has put me in this position. Abuse has affected Brian’s life and my life. Left unchecked, it will create many more victims, including our son,” she says, referring to the child they had together before the assault.
She asks Kitchens to impose “as much time as he sees fit to correct Brian’s behavior” and then adds, “the maximum sentencing this crime allows.”
Following the assault, Clark was indicted that fall but not arrested and arraigned until February 2014. Since then, the case has been continued numerous times according to court documents for everything from witnesses who couldn’t be present to “newly discovered evidence” to a sick judge.
Clark finally pleaded guilty in May. According to court records, Clark’s attorney, Rod Ray, asked for, and Kitchens granted, a delay in sentencing so Clark could “attend counseling for certain behaviors.”
Between May and the Aug. 10 sentencing, Kitchens ordered Clark to have no contact with the victim.
Ray couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.