Appeals Court Upholds Killer’s Convictions

by Josh Colletta

Even if a suspect initially chose to remain silent, the law does not require police to read the suspect their Miranda Rights for a second time if the suspect later decides to make a statement.

That’s the ruling from the Michigan Court of Appeals in the case of convicted killer Jay Scott Clark.

The Hillsdale Daily News says Clark appealed his murder and felony firearm convictions, claiming that police should have read him his rights verbatim for a second time when he decided to talk.

The court said otherwise on Tuesday, writing that “Under the circumstances here, there is no basis to suppress defendant’s incriminating statements made to police.”

The appeal follows a Hillsdale County case dating back to early 2017. Clark was the friend of Ashley Hoath, who had dated the victim, Jeremy Barron, on and off again. Hoath claimed that Barron was abusive, and had cost her the custody of her children.

On February 8th, 2017, Clark and Hoath rode in the front seat of Clark’s pickup truck with Barron seated in the back seat. According to Hoath’s testimony, Clark demanded that Barron promise never to hurt Hoath again, but Barron remained silent. That was when Clark shot Barron several times.

Clark immediately drove a panicking Hoath home, then found a wooded area in Camden Township and abandoned Barron’s body there.

When he was arrested, Clark initially invoked his right to remain silent, but as he was walked back to a cell from the interview room at the Hillsdale County Jail, he told a corrections officer that he wanted to talk with investigators. Two sheriff’s officers — Sgt. Kevin Bradley and Dep. Wes Ludeker — were sent to the interview room with him, and he told them, “Whatever Ashley said happened is what happened.”

Barron was convicted by a jury in January of 2018 and was given an automatic right to this appeal. He’s currently serving life plus two years in prison without parole.

For her part, Hoath pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the case, and is currently serving 25 to 40 years in prison. The Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court both upheld her conviction.

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