WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — A homeless man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole in the stabbing death of a Warren man.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald Rice tacked on 10 years to the sentence of Richard Clark for an aggravated robbery charge. Prosecutors said Clark killed Dwayne Hickman in March inside his Williamsburg Street N.W. home.
Hickman was dead for two days before his body was discovered.
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 a week.
Hickman’s family and friends said Dwayne, who was partially disabled from a stroke, would give the shirt off his back to help people. But that generosity, including giving Clark a place to live, is what ultimately led to his murder.
“If anyone ever needed anything, Dwayne would help with whatever he could. He also had a fierce loyalty to his family and friends, which is a wonderful quality. But in the end cost him his life,” said Hickman’s niece, Chelsea Hess.
“Living his life with the strokes that he has had. Yeah, he had the highest hopes in life. Still got on his motorcycle and rode it. You couldn’t keep him off of it and Rick took all that from him,” said friend Sandra Nochta.
Rice had some harsh words for Clark, who said nothing during the hearing.
“You are a drug addict that assassinated a disabled man who tried to help you. You have preyed upon the good people of our community and our civilized society for far too long,” Rice said.
Prosecutors said they are pleased with the sentence and praised Warren police and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification for helping them build a solid case.
“It’s unfortunate that a man had to lose his life to a heroin addict and essentially a bum and thank goodness Judge Rice saw that at sentencing and has kept him off the streets for the rest of his natural life,” said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker.
A Trumbull County jury convicted Clark of murder in less than 90 minutes. Clark’s attorneys said they already are planning an appeal.
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.