Expert: Murder charges, death penalty could be option for those accused in Duval veteran's attack

By: Bridgette Matter , Action News Jax

Updated:

A local veteran who had his throat slashed in an armed robbery in April has died.

Melvin Clark died Wednesday night, three months after he was attacked and left for dead. The Navy veteran’s family is opening up about his life and unexpected death.

When talking to Clark’s family, it’s evident how much they truly loved this man. Clark had been fighting for his life since the April attack. His family members shared with Action News Jax their heartbreak and hope for justice.


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“I remember kissing his forehead because he was tired and I thought I’d let him sleep crying. I didn't know it was going to be the last time I saw him,” granddaughter Nicole Dehn said.

Clark’s family planned to bring him home next week. Instead, they're planning his funeral and reflecting on the last few months.

“I’m thankful he didn't die in that ditch and he died in a bed,” Rivera said.

In April, Clark, a decorated U.S. Navy and Air Force veteran, was attacked senselessly. His car and money were stolen and his throat was slashed.

Police say Douglas Cercy, Jennifer Schulte and Ray Jones hurt Clark, then left Clark to die alone on the side of the road

Clark’s family said he was a fighter until the very end.

“We got a phone call that he passed. It came out of nowhere. No one expected that,” granddaughter Shannon Rivera said.


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Action News Jax law and safety expert Dale Carson said the heartless nature of the crime could set the three up for not only murder charges but the death penalty upon a conviction.

“Their intent is fairly clear. They left him on the side of the road. They robbed him. They stole his car. Those are the kinds of factors the state attorney’s office will consider,” Carson said.

Clark’s family members know the legal battle they face and hope they can soon find some peace.

“Honestly, there is no amount of justice that can be done, even at the highest sentence,” Clark’s stepdaughter Tamara Damico said.

Now we will wait to see if an indictment on murder charges is returned on the three accused of attacking Clark. Action News Jax will pass along any new information as we get it.

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