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Published: Friday, 4/28/2006

Taft refuses clemency for Clark


COLUMBUS The clock continues to tick for Tuesday s scheduled execution of Joseph Lewis Clark.

Gov. Bob Taft today rejected arguments that Clark s drug addiction, lack of discipline growing up after the death of his father, and low-normal intelligence conspired to lead him to a nine-day armed robbery spree in Toledo in 1984 that left two men dead.

Clark, 57, would become the 21st person and the first from Lucas County to be executed on Ohio s lethal injection gurney since Ohio resumed carrying out the death penalty in 1999.

Clark has spent more than half of his life behind bars, 22 of them on death row for the Jan. 13, 1984 robbery murder of David A. Manning, 23, a recently remarried father of two and stepfather of three, who was working as a gas station attendant. It made away with about $65.

The night before, Clark killed Donald B. Harris, a 21-year-old beauty school student working as a convenience store clerk, a crime for which he ultimately received a life sentence. His crime spree came to an end after he held up a third man at a bank ATM, and a fast-thinking witness noted his car s license plate number. His third victim, although shot twice, survived.

A repeat offender with an extensive criminal record, Mr. Clark showed a callous indifference to the lives of his victims as he robbed them to support his drug habit, said Mr. Taft in a written statement. Neither the (Ohio) Parole Board nor I are persuaded by Mr Clark s attempt to explain away Mr. Manning s murder.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

Read more in later edtions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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