Lufkin man acquitted in co-sleeping death gets 119 months for prescription fraud

Mark Clark (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Mark Clark (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County judge sentenced a Lufkin man to 119 months in prison for each of five counts of fraudulent delivery of a controlled substance Wednesday morning. Mark Wayne Clark, 33, will serve the terms concurrently, or at the same time.

During the sentencing hearing in the 159th Judicial District Court, Judge Paul White told Clark, "the consequences of your conduct have been profound."

"There's only been four days I've said I don't want to be here and now I can say five because of your case," White said. "I want you to know it has nothing to do with you, but the dynamics of this case. I hear a lot of things about you. They say you aren't the man you were. But I don't know who you are quite frankly. I've heard nothing from any source about the consequences of your conduct."

White also said if Clark can prove that he has changed, he will re-evaluate Clark's sentence.

Earlier in the sentencing, defense attorney Bill Agnew called Clark's neighbor to the stand. He pleaded with White saying "I would like the judge to extend mercy. I trust justice will be gotten here."

He also said Clark is a completely different person today than he was two years ago. Agnew asked the neighbor why he felt Clark has changed.

"To be honest…God," he said. "Mark has the ability to be a mentor in this community."

Prosecutor James Mamalis asked the neighbor if he was aware that Clark was still taking prescription drugs. He said he knew Clark has been taking Hydrocodone for a "back injury." But said he wouldn't have testified if he felt Clark was abusing the drug.

Michael Dean West, a minister for Cornerstone United Pentecostal Church in Lufkin, said he felt Clark should be given an opportunity to prove the changes he is making in his life.

"I thought it was important that the court see and hear from people that have been involved intricately in his life, and the changes he has actually made. I see someone who is growing spiritually. He spends time talking to the Lord in prayer, trying to make good decisions," West said.

West says he has known Clark since July of 2012, but did not know anything about Clark's past. West said he didn't believe Clark was using the church as a way to change his sentencing. He says he believes Clark came to the church to change his life just like anyone else.

"To me, I wasn't too worried about what he did in the past. I really wanted to focus on his future," West said.

Mamalis said that it was hard for West to evaluate Clark's future if he didn't know anything about his past. West says he is aware Clark had a substance abuse problem, but he did not know Clark was continuing to take controlled substances.

John Byron Boone, the pastor of the church, agreed with West saying he felt Clark had a desire to change his life.

"There was something there that I knew I needed to connect with," Boone said. "I like Mark Clark. I like what I see in him. I appreciate the way that someone can respect responsibility for what they've done and still move forward."

Clark pleaded guilty to five felony counts of fraudulent delivery of a controlled substance on April 30. In exchange for the plea, the state dropped the remaining 24 counts. White handed down the sentence following a pre-sentencing investigation.

A grand jury indicted Clark and his wife, Vanessa Clark, in November.

The Clarks went to trial separately in 2012 in connection to their infant son's death in 2010. It was their second son to die as a result of them sleeping with it. According to courtroom testimony, both Clarks used prescription drugs in 2010.

A jury found Vanessa Clark guilty of child endangerment in April. District Judge Paul White sentenced her to 119 months in prison. She is out of prison on a $100,000 appeal bond.

A jury found Mark Clark not guilty of the same charge in May. Court testimony revealed he did not know the infant was in bed with him when he died.

Vanessa Clark pleaded guilty in April to five counts of fraudulent delivery. She also will face sentencing at a later date.

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