A Texas County inmate accused of first-degree murder among other charges pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges and will be sentenced on Aug. 1.
During his court appearance on May 25, Kenneth Clark entered an Alford Plea, which is a guilty plea in criminal court, whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence, but admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Clark, 56, was earlier charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and kidnapping. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping. He is accused of shooting Susan J. Campbell, 56, multiple times and then shooting himself. She was a military retiree who had previously worked for the National Security Agency. He was hospitalized in a St. Louis hospital, recovered and sent to the Texas County Jail, where he remains.
Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr. said recently that Clark is in declining health and the victim’s family is ready to put the tragedy behind them.
Authorities said he forced Campbell, who had a restraining order against him, into a rental car on the Walmart Supercenter parking lot. Various law enforcement agencies scattered to search for the vehicle before it was found about two hours later near a Roby business at Highways 17 and 32. A witness said Clark, who was covered in blood, had reported that a woman was seriously injured. Authorities arrived and found the victim dead and Clark with a head wound. He was airlifted to the St. Louis hospital.
A separate crime scene was found at Lake Drive in the Roby Lake area, which is Mark Twain National Forest property. While processing that scene, officers found a handgun and several shell casings.