Homeless man convicted of murder

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A homeless man described by prosecutors as a “vagabond” and a heroin addict was convicted Friday of fatally stabbing a Warren man.

Richard Clark, 39, was convicted in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery after a week-long trial in front of Judge Ronald Rice. The jury deliberated for less than 90 minutes.

Clark could face a life prison sentence for the murder conviction when he is sentenced next month.

Clark was convicted for stabbing Dwayne Hickman in his Williamsburg Street N.W. home where he had been dead for about two days, assistant county prosecutor Chris Becker said.

Police later found Hickman’s car at an apartment where a woman was allowing Clark to live for the month leading up to the death.

Investigators then found Clark passed out from a heroin overdose in the bathroom. He was in a coma for about one week.

Becker told the jury Friday during closing arguments that Clark killed Hickman and stole his car and a variety of other items in order to fuel his heroin addiction.

He pointed out that investigators found a bloody sweater that a witness testified seeing Clark wearing in a trash bag with the knife used to stab Hickman.

Clark’s attorney Matt Pentz questioned the credibility of some witnesses and pointed to DNA evidence taken from the trash bag, saying the DNA could have transferred between the various items.

Pentz also said no one testified that the car was stolen and that items of value found inside the car were not sold to pawn shops. Credit cards and a welfare card were also unused.

Becker said Hickman’s blood was also found on Clark’s pants. They also found family heirloom guns, some of which had been in Hickman’s family for 50 years, inside the car.

“Do you think Dwayne Hickman would say ‘Here, take all these guns, take my car, take my cell phone, take my wallet, take my welfare cards, take it all,” Becker said. “And, oh, by the way, here take some of my blood and put it on your pants.”

Clark has previously been charged 12 times with drug offenses, twice with endangering children and receiving stolen property, three times with theft, and once each for attempted burglary, stealing a car, unauthorized use of a car, resisting arrest, trespassing and carrying a concealed weapon since 1993.

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