Judge denies man's release on bond

Staff Writer

A judge denies bond for a man who wants to be able to get of jail while he appeals his sentence for beating a Starkville dentist who is his wife.

In his ruling filed Tuesday morning, Circuit Court Judge Jim Kitchens says 38-year-old Brian Clark didn't present "any evidence to reflect that his guilty plea was Constitutionally deficient.

Instead, his concern appears to be the sentence that was imposed by this court...Accordingly, the Court finds the Defendant has not demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the "peculiar circumstances of his conviction and subsequent sentence render his release on bail proper."

During a hearing hearing on June 1, the Waynesboro businessman who is now in prison in the Kemper County Correctional facility asked Kitchens to grant him a bond while he appeals the 10-year sentence the judge gave Clark in September for bashing in his estranged wife’s skull four years earlier.

Clark’s case attracted statewide attention because of his family’s wealth, because his victim is Hope Imes Clark, a well-known Lowndes County woman and Starkville dentist, and because it took his case four years to get to court.

He pleaded guilty on his own on May 16, 2017, and Kitchens delayed sentencing until September to give Clark a chance to attend anger-management counseling.

When the judge realized those sessions were once a week for 24 weeks, he moved the sentencing up.
Clark beat his wife, banged her head against a wall, splitting it open to the point it required more than a dozen staples to close the wound, snatched the couple’s child and drove drunk to Waynesboro.

He had previous DUI convictions and while the aggravated domestic violence charge was pending in Lowndes County, a Florida woman with whom he was having a romantic relationship had to take out a restraining order against him.

In the end, Kitchens sentenced him to 16 years with six suspended, leaving 10 to serve.
In his request for bond, Clark, who once said in court documents that he made $1.2 million a year, said he would willingly give up his passport and his family would guarantee his presence in court if he was allowed out pending appeal.
He even offered to pay for his own ankle monitoring device.

The judge's ruling means he will stay in prison pending his appeal. He also can appeal the judge's ruling concerning the bond request.