Killer gets life in prison

WARREN – Referring to a ”horrendous” murder and the convicted killer’s ”cold-blooded, cut-throat behavior,” Judge Ronald Rice sentenced 40-year-old Richard Clark to life behind bars with no chance of parole.

The judge also gave the drifter an additional 10 years for a conviction on an accompanying charge of aggravated robbery.

Calling more attention to the murder of Dwayne Hickman, who was found dead in his Williamsburg Street N.W. home March 25, Rice said Clark’s actions before the trial ”speak volumes for what you are: You slaughtered Mr. Hickman, you steal his car, his cell phone, his wallet and guns and then you abuse so much heroin that you are found by the police passed out naked from a heroin overdose.”

The judge said Clark’s demeanor during the recent trial ”showed no genuine remorse for the ruthless slaying.”

When Rice asked Clark if he had anything to say before sentencing, Clark paused briefly before shaking his head ”no.”

Both Rice and assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker, who asked for the same sentence, mentioned that Clark actually preyed on Hickman since Hickman, who was disabled, was allowing Clark to live in his home during the winter months.

Hickman’s niece Chelsea Hess read an impact statement that spoke of Hickman’s ”fierce loyalty to his family and friends.”

”If anyone needed anything, Dwayne would help with whatever he could. It was a wonderful quality, but in the end it cost him his life,” Hess said.

”The only time he showed any emotion was after the verdict of guilty was read and then he just looked angry because he didn’t get away with it. He has no value for life and deserves to sit in prison for the rest of his life,” she said.

Becker meanwhile said Hickman lost his life to a ”bum.”

”The jury took only about an hour to deliberate and that speaks to the strength of our case,” Becker said, praising the work of Warren Detectives John Greaver, Wayne Mackey and Michael Stabile.

The coroner fixed the time of death on March 21 and said Hickman was stabbed 11 times and sliced four other times. All the wounds were on the head and neck area.

Shortly after Hickman’s body was found police found Hickman’s car, containing his wallet and phone, parked outside a Maryland Street home were Clark had been staying.

Inside a room in the Maryland home, police found several family heirloom guns belonging to Hickman. When they went to question Clark, he was found unconscious in the bathtub after overdosing on heroin.

It took about four days for him to recover at a local hospital.

Detectives found the murder weapon – a large broken kitchen knife – in a trash bag wrapped in a rag along with a sweater that others had seen Clark wearing days earlier.

Becker and assistant prosecutor Gabe Wildman used DNA tests to find traces of Hickman’s blood on the knife and Hickman and Clark’s DNA on the bloody sweater.

Meanwhile, Hickman’s DNA was also found on spots of blood on Clark’s blue jeans inside his room at the Maryland house where he was invited to stay by a woman who bought two tattoos from him for $80.