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Clarke denied furlough request

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Wanted to attend graduation ceremony

By Tom Wilmoth

    Vicky Thomas Clarke won’t be attending her son’s graduation.

    Clarke, convicted last December of voluntary manslaughter for shooting her brother in October 2015, is now spending five years in prison for that conviction. On Friday Clarke was in court asking Circuit Court Judge James Updike for a furlough to attend her son’s graduation on May 26.
    Judge Updike denied the request.
    Chief Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Stacey Gardner argued against the furlough request stating that there are probably many inmates who would like to attend functions involving family members. “Where do we draw the line?” she asked.
    Gardner stated that Clarke had been convicted of a violent offense, noting that Clarke has appealed her jury conviction. “This is a very serious conviction,” Gardner stated during the hearing.
    Gardner also noted that Clarke had an altercation the day of her trial with other members of her family, which led to her being taken into immediate custody when she was convicted.
    During Friday’s hearing Clarke stated she had overseen her son’s schooling throughout his time in school and that by not allowing her to go was ultimately punishing him. “He doesn’t deserve that,” she said.
    Clarke’s attorney,    Emily  Sitzler  stated that Clarke’s son had worked very hard to get to this point in his life. “I’m sure he would want his mother to be there,” she stated, adding that Clarke would not be a flight risk.
    Clarke had originally been charged with second degree murder in connection with shooting and killing her brother, Paul Thomas, in the early morning hours on Oct. 1, 2015. The jury ended up convicting her of voluntary manslaughter and recommending the five-year sentence.
    During her trial, Vicky Clarke alleged that Paul Thomas was scraping gravel that belonged to her family down from a private family road to fill up a pot hole along the road that weaves through a portion of the 102-acre property owned by Vicky’s mother, Betty Jean Thomas. That road, Green Mountain Road, had been a source of family conflicts for several years.
    At the time of the verdict, Gardner said the jury probably had to struggle with the two-decade old feud between the family members, including Paul Thomas and his sister. The two shared the same road and had numerous run-ins over the years, including one in 2011 in which Thomas was convicted of hitting his sister in the head with a rake.