Cassville death ruled a homicide

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Second degree murder charges were filed Thursday afternoon against a 40-year-old Barry County man in the death of Vicki L. Clark, 43, of Cassville.

Jimmy Joe Nelson, 40, of Cassville, was arrested without incident at a Barry County residence and is being held in the Barry County Jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond. Nelson has also been charged with armed criminal action.

Cassville Police Department officials stated in a press release that final autopsy reports are not available but preliminary results indicate that Clark died from loss of blood from injuries sustained at her residence. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Clark's body was discovered on Aug. 17 in the Cassville home she shared with Nelson, and her death was classified as suspicious pending autopsy results. The crime scene was processed, and items recovered at the scene were sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab.

According to a statement of probable cause filed in the case and signed by CPD Detective James Smith, Nelson caused the death of Clark by means of puncture and laceration wounds to the neck.

Police officers responded to Nelson's residence after Clark's employer informed Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr that Nelson had told her (the employer) that Clark had killed herself at around 2 a.m. on Aug. 17.

When officers arrived at the residence, Nelson allowed them inside, and when asked where Clark was, Nelson pointed downstairs. "Chief Kammerlohr started downstairs and observed the body of Vicki Clark lying between the stairway and bedroom door in a pool of blood, obviously deceased," the probable cause statement read.

Officers who processed the scene observed a deep laceration on the victim's neck and a large amount of blood around Clark. A folding lock blade knife was found leaning against the right side of the victim's neck.

The probable cause statement also included information on the autopsy's initial findings. It appears that Clark was struck in the face and head prior to her death. There were defensive cut wounds on the victim's right forearm and right index finger. Two distinct slice wounds were also apparent on Clark's neck, revealing the right side of the carotid artery had been partially severed. There were also puncture wounds through to the back of her neck.

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