WARREN - Since a judge ruled last week that murder suspect Richard Clark was questioned properly by detectives, jury selection is scheduled to get under way Monday in the 39-year-old man's trial.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice, who is hearing the case, not only denied a defense move to suppress the statements Clark gave while in Trumbull Memorial Hospital while recuperating from a heroin overdose, Rice also said police were proper in searching the room Clark was staying in at a friend's home.
Clark, described by police as a somewhat homeless man who worked as a tattoo artist, faces a life sentence on the aggravated murder charge.
He is accused of stabbing Dwayne Hickman, 49, close to a dozen times. Warren police discovered Hickman's body at his Williamsburg Street N.W. home on March 25 after a family member asked them to check on him.
Key testimony in the case is expected to come from a group of police officers and detectives.
Also scheduled to testify is Melody McGlothlin of Maryland Street, who said she met Clark and paid him $80 for two tattoos before allowing him to stay in her house, where she lives with her two children.
McGlothlin said at an earlier suppression hearing that Clark kept to himself and sometimes showed up after a period of a couple days.
''We honored each other's privacy. I didn't snoop around in his room. He stayed out of my space,'' McGlothlin said. ''He didn't stay there every night. Only occasionally, if he needed a shower or something.''
He had been there about a month.
She didn't even know Clark's last name until police spotted Hickman's white Chevrolet Malibu outside McGlothlin's home. Officers immediately showed up, and when McGlothlin went to look for Clark, she found him unresponsive and naked in her bathtub, where he passed out after shooting up heroin, police said.
Rice said McGlothlin's verbal permission to search Clark's room was proper enough to be used at trial.
Police are expected to tell about retrieving boxes of handguns, at least some of which can be traced back to Hickman.
Besides the guns and the car, assistant prosecutors Chris Becker and Gabe Wildman are expected to use expert testimony from a state forensic scientist to show that blood found on Clark's shirt was Hickman's.
Clark's attorneys, Matt Pentz and David Rouzzo, were trying to convince Rice to throw out as evidence the search done at McGlothlin's house without Clark's permission and statements he gave to detectives at the hospital. They contended that Clark's health was not well enough to talk with authorities.
Detectives recorded the statement they got from Clark at the hospital after being unable to question him for four days while he was in a coma and then being treated for the overdose.
Police said previously that Hickman and Clark had a history and that Clark had also stayed at Hickman's home periodically.
Once a jury is selected, the panel will be bused to the Williamsburg murder scene and the Maryland home where Clark was staying.
Since 1993, Clark, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bond, had been charged with various crimes, including drug-related offenses, endangering children, theft, receiving stolen property, attempted burglary, stealing a car, unauthorized use of a car, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon.