Cassville man pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 ~ Updated 9:24 PM

A Cassville man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter after pleading guilty to the charge in Barry County Circuit Court on Monday, June 24.

Jimmy J. Nelson, age 42, was set to stand trial for murder in the second degree, but on the day the jury trail was scheduled to begin, Nelson entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of 43-year-old Vicki L. Clark, on Aug. 17, 2011.

Circuit Judge Jack Goodman handed down Nelson's sentence of 15 years for voluntary manslaughter and three years for armed criminal action. The sentences will run concurrently.

At the time of Clark's death, Nelson and Clark were sharing a home in Cassville. Police officers were dispatched to the home on the day of Clark's death after Clark's employer informed Cassville Police Chief Dana Kammerlohr that Nelson had called her (the employer) and told her that Clark had killed herself at 2 a.m. that morning.

According to a probable cause statement, when officers arrived on the scene, they encountered Nelson and asked him where Clark was. Nelson allegedly pointed downstairs where officers found Clark's body lying in a pool of blood between the stairway and bedroom door.

Officers reported observing a deep laceration on the victim's neck and a large amount of blood. A folding lock blade knife was found leaning against the right side of the victim's neck.

Evidence at the scene was processed and sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab. The probable cause statement alleged that Nelson caused the death of Clark by means of puncture and laceration wounds to the neck.

Initital autopsy results revealed 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, and there were two slice wounds apparent on Clark's neck, which partially severed Clark's carotid artery.

Nelson was represented by Cassville attorney John Lewright. The case was prosecuted by Johnnie Cox, Barry County prosecutor.

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