Back on January 22nd, a father met his ex-wife at a Shell station in Ohio to pick up his twin boys. As he was removing the twins from their car seats, the ex’s new boyfriend, who had come with the ex, brutally attacked him.
The father said:
“He was being beaten so savagely by Clark that he pulled his gun and fired one shot in self-defense.”
The new boyfriend was taken to a hospital in critical condition where he died the next morning. The father was charged with murder and his bond was set at $1 million.
While normally murder cases don’t go to trial in less than a year, in this case, the father and his attorney felt that a delay would be harmful to his case so he refused to waive his right to a speedy trial which forced the prosecutors to bring the case to trial in less than 90 days.
His attorney said:
“[The father] was in jail on a sky-high bond. We felt that we would be fully available to proceed within the speedy trial guidelines and felt a delay would be prejudicial to my client. Usually, the passage of time works to the benefit of the defendant, so this was counterintuitive.”
A $1 million bond meant that this father would need $100,000 to get out on bail plus whatever he needed to pay his attorney. It would seem reasonable that that was at least part of the reason to insist on a speedy trial. How many of us have that kind of money sitting around that we could use to pay a bail bondsman? That’s money that we won’t get back since that’s a bondsman’s typical fee for putting up the cash.
The ex-wife, perhaps not surprisingly, testified against the father during the trial. The new boyfriend had just been released from prison four months earlier after having served a six-year sentence for kidnapping.
The good news is that a jury returned a not guilty verdict with less than three hours of deliberation.
This case illustrates that even if you do everything right and within the law, your life can still be horribly affected if you are forced to defend yourself with deadly force. The total cost, financially, morally, and relationally, of his actions is probably impossible to calculate which is why it is so important to avoid the fight if at all possible. And why it is so important to have some way to pay for competent, experienced legal help if you can’t.
There are a number of very good providers of “self-defense insurance” out there that can come to your aid if you are ever forced into a situation like this father faced. You would be wise to look into one of them.