82.1 F
Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesClark Defense Attacks Prosecution Witnesses

Clark Defense Attacks Prosecution Witnesses

In just a few short hours Tuesday, defense attorneys for federal agent William Clark managed during cross-examination to turn the testimony of the prosecution’s own witnesses into supporting evidence for their client.
Clark, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is charged with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and two counts of related weapons charges for the Sept. 7, 2008 shooting death of Marcus Sukow.
During opening arguments Monday, the defense claimed that Clark was sucked into a violent domestic dispute between Sukow and his girlfriend, Marguerite "Margie" Duncan, and opened fire only after being threatened by Sukow with a heavy-duty flashlight that Sukow allegedly also used to beat in Duncan’s car.
Conversely, the prosecution has argued that Sukow, though drunk at the time, had never threatened or assaulted Clark, but was instead about to step back when Clark started firing without cause instead of simply driving away.
At the time, government attorney Claude Walker indicated his case would be supported by the statements of three eyewitnesses: Duncan, Mahogany Run security guard Rolando Smith, and St. Thomas attorney Henry Carr, a neighbor of Sukow and Duncan’s, who came out of his condo that Sunday morning to go for a run when he saw the two arguing outside.
Smith was the first on the stand Tuesday as the prosecution opened its case against Clark, and said on the first go-around that he had come upon the couple arguing and came out to assess the situation, but at the same time didn’t try to calm Sukow down or talk to him because he didn’t think "the situation was going to escalate."
Walker has argued that Duncan eventually ended up in Clark’s car after she asked him for a ride down to the guard booth at the head of Mahogany Run, and that Sukow, upon seeing that, approached Clark and demanded that he let Duncan out so they could finish talking.
The fight began, Walker said in his opening, after Sukow began to talk about marriage and the recently divorced Duncan opted to end the conversation.
Walker has also argued that before approaching Clark, Sukow had gone to his own car for a cigarette and ended up retrieving what many people described Tuesday as a MAG flashlight, which Walker said Sukow had intended to take inside the condo since the area was experiencing recurring brownouts at the time.
On the stand Tuesday, Smith said that Sukow did have the flashlight in hand when he approached Clark’s car but didn’t threaten Clark with it. Instead, Clark told Sukow to stand back, and Sukow obeyed, dropping his arms. Clark then opened fire, Smith said.
Under cross-examination by Clark defense attorney Rudolph Acree, however, Smith described Sukow’s behavior as "not normal." He was cursing Duncan, blocked her from leaving the area when she first tried to drive down the road in her own car, and eventually was aggressive toward Carr, who went back into his condo after Sukow started to walk toward him, Smith testified.
Under questioning, Smith also said that he saw Sukow hit Duncan’s car once with the flashlight and swing it once or twice when he was close to Clark. Meanwhile, Acree pointed out that Smith’s original police statement, taken on the day of the shooting, says that Sukow didn’t listen when Clark told him to step back, but rather stayed put at Clark’s car door.
In his statement, Smith also said he thought at first that the bullets were blanks because even though they appeared to hit Sukow, he didn’t see any blood until Sukow began to move back toward the condo.
Under cross-examination, former Police crime tech Chavonne Sasso also elicited some murmurs from the courtroom when she talked about pictures she had taken at scene showing damage to Duncan’s car — in particular, a broken side mirror and marks on both the passenger and driver’s side doors.
Sasso said she was told by her supervisors that Sukow had damaged the mirror with the flashlight, and that she thought it best — even though no one told her to do so — to take pictures of the doors and hood of the car as well.
As a crime scene tech, Sasso said she isn’t obligated to interview witnesses, but rather bag and tag the evidence, some of which is kept in the VIPD’s evidence locker while other items might be sent away to the FBI crime lab for processing. When those items are sent away, however, Sasso said she would fill out a "modus operandi" section included in the paperwork, where she would provide a brief synopsis of the case.
In this instance, Sasso said she was told by her supervisors that the Sept. 2008 incident started out as a disturbance but escalated into a "verbal and physical altercation" between Sukow and Duncan. And when the situation turned physical, it got even more violent, with Sukow eventually attacking Duncan and eventually Clark, she said under questioning from Clark attorney Mark Shamel.
Sasso said she was told the story by her supervisor — a sergeant who also had not witnessed the event, but had heard about what happened and was, according to Sasso, charged with giving her the official information for the report.
Sasso said she also took pictures inside the couple’s condo and documented various items — a bracelet, wall painting and potted plant, among others — that were either broken, bent or strewn about the place.
Meanwhile, there were several bottles of alcohol in the kitchen sink, along with broken glass, and pill bottles on the kitchen counter, she said.
Duncan was called as the last witness of the day, and will return Wednesday for cross-examination, which Shamel said should last about two hours.
While on the stand, Duncan likened her relationship with Sukow to a "country song."
"He made me smile, he made me shine," she said of Sukow, who she described as her "best friend, lover and sweet man."
Duncan said the relationship had never been violent, and though Sukow was, on the day of the shooting, rude and more upset than she had ever seen him before, he had not threatened her nor Clark with the flashlight.
Duncan said Sukow did at one point hit the hood of her car with an umbrella that had fallen out, but the rest of the damage was not new: the side mirror was hit when the car "pushed up against" a taxi stand on Main Street, while damage to the doors was caused by a hit from another car in the Mahogany Run parking lot and a fender-bender in front of Virgilio’s, where she said she and Sukow had eaten the night before he died.
Duncan said Sukow did go to his car before approaching Clark’s, and scooped up "a bunch of items," consisting of a cigarette, lighter and the flashlight, which she said she was supposed to have brought in the condo for the brownouts, but forgot.
On his way back upstairs, Sukow noticed Duncan in Clark’s car and went to stop them from leaving. Sukow did shake the flashlight at Clark at that point, but the situation didn’t seem to be dangerous, Duncan said, adding that the next thing she noticed was that Clark was reaching back behind the seat to grab his gun out of his gym bag.
Once the gun was pulled out, Sukow stepped back, hands and flashlight by his side, she said on the stand.
"Then Clark pointed the gun and fired the gun," she said, choking up. "I was stunned, shocked, it was like a deer in the headlights."
Both Smith and Duncan said that Clark’s next move was to jump out of the car and try to help Sukow, while ordering them both to call 911.
The trial continues 9 a.m. Wednesday in Superior Court.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more

In just a few short hours Tuesday, defense attorneys for federal agent William Clark managed during cross-examination to turn the testimony of the prosecution's own witnesses into supporting evidence for their client.
Clark, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is charged with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and two counts of related weapons charges for the Sept. 7, 2008 shooting death of Marcus Sukow.
During opening arguments Monday, the defense claimed that Clark was sucked into a violent domestic dispute between Sukow and his girlfriend, Marguerite "Margie" Duncan, and opened fire only after being threatened by Sukow with a heavy-duty flashlight that Sukow allegedly also used to beat in Duncan's car.
Conversely, the prosecution has argued that Sukow, though drunk at the time, had never threatened or assaulted Clark, but was instead about to step back when Clark started firing without cause instead of simply driving away.
At the time, government attorney Claude Walker indicated his case would be supported by the statements of three eyewitnesses: Duncan, Mahogany Run security guard Rolando Smith, and St. Thomas attorney Henry Carr, a neighbor of Sukow and Duncan's, who came out of his condo that Sunday morning to go for a run when he saw the two arguing outside.
Smith was the first on the stand Tuesday as the prosecution opened its case against Clark, and said on the first go-around that he had come upon the couple arguing and came out to assess the situation, but at the same time didn't try to calm Sukow down or talk to him because he didn’t think "the situation was going to escalate."
Walker has argued that Duncan eventually ended up in Clark's car after she asked him for a ride down to the guard booth at the head of Mahogany Run, and that Sukow, upon seeing that, approached Clark and demanded that he let Duncan out so they could finish talking.
The fight began, Walker said in his opening, after Sukow began to talk about marriage and the recently divorced Duncan opted to end the conversation.
Walker has also argued that before approaching Clark, Sukow had gone to his own car for a cigarette and ended up retrieving what many people described Tuesday as a MAG flashlight, which Walker said Sukow had intended to take inside the condo since the area was experiencing recurring brownouts at the time.
On the stand Tuesday, Smith said that Sukow did have the flashlight in hand when he approached Clark's car but didn't threaten Clark with it. Instead, Clark told Sukow to stand back, and Sukow obeyed, dropping his arms. Clark then opened fire, Smith said.
Under cross-examination by Clark defense attorney Rudolph Acree, however, Smith described Sukow's behavior as "not normal." He was cursing Duncan, blocked her from leaving the area when she first tried to drive down the road in her own car, and eventually was aggressive toward Carr, who went back into his condo after Sukow started to walk toward him, Smith testified.
Under questioning, Smith also said that he saw Sukow hit Duncan's car once with the flashlight and swing it once or twice when he was close to Clark. Meanwhile, Acree pointed out that Smith's original police statement, taken on the day of the shooting, says that Sukow didn't listen when Clark told him to step back, but rather stayed put at Clark's car door.
In his statement, Smith also said he thought at first that the bullets were blanks because even though they appeared to hit Sukow, he didn't see any blood until Sukow began to move back toward the condo.
Under cross-examination, former Police crime tech Chavonne Sasso also elicited some murmurs from the courtroom when she talked about pictures she had taken at scene showing damage to Duncan's car -- in particular, a broken side mirror and marks on both the passenger and driver's side doors.
Sasso said she was told by her supervisors that Sukow had damaged the mirror with the flashlight, and that she thought it best -- even though no one told her to do so -- to take pictures of the doors and hood of the car as well.
As a crime scene tech, Sasso said she isn't obligated to interview witnesses, but rather bag and tag the evidence, some of which is kept in the VIPD's evidence locker while other items might be sent away to the FBI crime lab for processing. When those items are sent away, however, Sasso said she would fill out a "modus operandi" section included in the paperwork, where she would provide a brief synopsis of the case.
In this instance, Sasso said she was told by her supervisors that the Sept. 2008 incident started out as a disturbance but escalated into a "verbal and physical altercation" between Sukow and Duncan. And when the situation turned physical, it got even more violent, with Sukow eventually attacking Duncan and eventually Clark, she said under questioning from Clark attorney Mark Shamel.
Sasso said she was told the story by her supervisor -- a sergeant who also had not witnessed the event, but had heard about what happened and was, according to Sasso, charged with giving her the official information for the report.
Sasso said she also took pictures inside the couple's condo and documented various items -- a bracelet, wall painting and potted plant, among others -- that were either broken, bent or strewn about the place.
Meanwhile, there were several bottles of alcohol in the kitchen sink, along with broken glass, and pill bottles on the kitchen counter, she said.
Duncan was called as the last witness of the day, and will return Wednesday for cross-examination, which Shamel said should last about two hours.
While on the stand, Duncan likened her relationship with Sukow to a "country song."
"He made me smile, he made me shine," she said of Sukow, who she described as her "best friend, lover and sweet man."
Duncan said the relationship had never been violent, and though Sukow was, on the day of the shooting, rude and more upset than she had ever seen him before, he had not threatened her nor Clark with the flashlight.
Duncan said Sukow did at one point hit the hood of her car with an umbrella that had fallen out, but the rest of the damage was not new: the side mirror was hit when the car "pushed up against" a taxi stand on Main Street, while damage to the doors was caused by a hit from another car in the Mahogany Run parking lot and a fender-bender in front of Virgilio's, where she said she and Sukow had eaten the night before he died.
Duncan said Sukow did go to his car before approaching Clark's, and scooped up "a bunch of items," consisting of a cigarette, lighter and the flashlight, which she said she was supposed to have brought in the condo for the brownouts, but forgot.
On his way back upstairs, Sukow noticed Duncan in Clark's car and went to stop them from leaving. Sukow did shake the flashlight at Clark at that point, but the situation didn't seem to be dangerous, Duncan said, adding that the next thing she noticed was that Clark was reaching back behind the seat to grab his gun out of his gym bag.
Once the gun was pulled out, Sukow stepped back, hands and flashlight by his side, she said on the stand.
"Then Clark pointed the gun and fired the gun," she said, choking up. "I was stunned, shocked, it was like a deer in the headlights."
Both Smith and Duncan said that Clark's next move was to jump out of the car and try to help Sukow, while ordering them both to call 911.
The trial continues 9 a.m. Wednesday in Superior Court.