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    1. #1
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010

      Chandler Gordon Clark Sentenced to LWOP in 2011 DE Slaying of Andre J. Dupuis

      The Chester County District Attorney’s office will seek the death penalty against the ex-convict who allegedly shot and killed a Delaware County man in order to steal his pickup and make his way out west with a girlfriend.

      At his formal arraignment at Chester County Prison Thursday, Chandler Gordon Clark, a northeastern Pennsylvania man, was notified of the prosecution’s decision to make the case against him a capital one.

      Accompanied by his defense attorney, First Assistant Public Defender Nathan Schenker, Chandler said nothing about the notification and did not enter a formal plea in the matter.

      Clark is accused of shooting Andre J. Dupuis of Aston in the back and the neck on a secluded stretch of rural Lees Bridge Road in West Nottingham the night of Aug. 6, while his girlfriend, Melanie Ann Ray, watched. The two planned to hijack the 2006 GMC Sierra Dupuis was driving in order to continue fleeing from arrest warrants issued for them by authorities in Venango and Erie counties.

      Dupuis, a 32-year-old landscaper, had met Ray just a few weeks before in Port Deposit, Md. She had called him the night of the shooting to ask him for a place to stay, and he had agreed to take her to his sister’s home in Lancaster County. Ray allegedly told police after the pair’s arrest they targeted Dupuis because he was single and had no children, and thus would not be missed by anyone for some time after his murder, giving them a better chance of getting away.

      Both Clark, 20, of Titusville, Crawford County, and Ray, 27, of Venango County are charged with first-, second-, and third-degree murder, as well as conspiracy and robbery of a motor vehicle. Clark, because of his past felony drug possession record, is also charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

      Clark was arraigned via video link by an official with the Chester County Court Administrator’s office.

      In Pennsylvania, authorities are permitted to seek the death penalty against those defendants charged with first-degree murder only if one of a list of aggravating circumstances is present. In Clark’s case, that factor is the allegation that he committed the murder while committing another felony.

      Although Ray did not fire the weapon used in Dupuis’ death, she can be charged with murder as a co-conspirator and accomplice. However, state appellate law prohibits the death penalty from being sought in her case because she did not use the murder weapon.

      Ray waived her formal arraignment.

      According to the prosecution, Clark made plans with Ray to commit the murder some time prior to Aug. 6. That night, she called Dupuis and told him she had to leave the house in Rising Sun, Md., where she had been staying, and asked him for help. He picked her up along with Clark, whom she identified as her cousin.

      As the three drove to Lancaster County, Ray allegedly feigned nausea and Clark asked him to pull over so that she could be sick. When Ray left the truck, Clark asked Dupuis to check on her. When he did, Clark followed him around the back of the truck and pointed a .40-caliber handgun at him.

      “It’s nothing personal,” Clark allegedly told Dupuis as he leveled the gun at him. “I just need your keys and your truck.”

      Dupuis turned to run back to the cab of his pickup, but Clark shot him in the back. As Dupuis climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to start the truck to escape, Clark shot him again, this time in the neck. The bullet went through Dupuis, exiting his shoulder and continuing through the truck’s front passenger side window, breaking it to pieces. Dupuis died immediately from the two wounds, sometime between 10:45 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Aug. 6. Clark kicked Dupuis’s body into a ravine off the side of the road, where it was found by a passerby the following morning.

      Police were able to track Clark and Ray to Indianapolis, where they were taken into custody and allegedly gave confessions to the crime.

      A uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    2. #2
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010
      The northwestern Pennsylvania man who orchestrated the car robbery and murder of a Delaware County man so that he and a girlfriend could avoid parole hearings and possible new jail terms pleaded guilty to first-degree murder charges on Wednesday.

      Chandler Clark, 20, of Titusville was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the August shooting of a beloved Aston, Delaware County, man, Andre Dupuis, who had befriended the woman that Clark hoped to flee the state with a few weeks before his death.

      In addition pleading guilty to murder, Clark entered pleas to the charges of criminal conspiracy to commit murder and robbery of a motor vehicle. He was given an additional 10 to 20 years in prison for the robbery charge.

      Clark shot Dupuis twice, once in the back and once in the neck, on a stretch of lonely rural road in West Nottingham in order to take Dupuis’ 2006 GMC Sierra so that Clark and Melanie Ann Ray could leave the state and avoid a hearing for parole violations in Venango County. Authorities said Clark and Ray targeted Dupuis, who Ray had met a few weeks earlier in Rising Sun, Md., because he was single and had no children – a person who they felt would not be soon missed.

      But the family members who spoke at the sentencing hearing before Common Pleas Court Anthony Sarcione said that, in fact, they and dozens of friends and relatives missed Dupuis terribly and continually.

      “Andre was a caring, loving individual who will always be remembered for his warm smile and his giving nature,” said his mother, Joan Dupuis, in comments to the judge. “We had a close family, and he had many good friends.

      “It is Chandler Clark who won’t be missed,” she declared.

      Clark agreed to plead guilty to the fist-degree murder and related charges after the prosecution offered to withdraw the death penalty it had initially sought in the case, because the murder was committed in the course of a felony. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Ost-Prisco, who prosecuted the case, said he had discussed the plea and sentence with Dupuis’ family, with the state police who investigated the case, and with both new District Attorney Thomas Hogan and his predecessor, Joseph Carroll. All agreed to it.

      First Assistant Public Defender Nathan Schenker, who represented Clark, said that his client had since his arrest accepted responsibility for the crime. He said he had discussed a variety of possible defenses to the case, including whether Clark was intoxicated by drugs at the time of the killing, but that none would have been successful as lessening his culpability.

      Speaking on behalf of his client, Schenker said that Clark wanted to enter the plea so that Dupuis’ family could begin to put their grief over his death behind them and not have it drawn out any longer. “He knows there is nothing that he could say that could console them,” Schenker told Sarcione.

      After Ost-Prisco recited what the judge called the “chilling facts” of what happened to Dupuis, Sarcione asked Clark, dressed in a white shirt and black dress pants, is he agreed with the scenario that the prosecutor laid out. “Do you admit doing that?” he asked.

      “I do, you honor,” Clark said.

      The nature of the killing shocked Sarcione, he said in imposing the life plus 10-to-20 year sentence. “This case represents nothing more than a cold-blooded, senseless killing,” he said before Clark was taken from the courtroom by sheriff deputies in handcuffs and shackles. “It is just unspeakable what happened here.”

      According to Ost-Prisco and the criminal case pieced together by state police Troopers Todd Hershey and James Ciliberto, the plan to kill Dupuis, began some weeks before his death on Aug. 6. Clark and Ray were facing parole violations hearings that they worried would send them back to state prison, Clark for a burglary he committed in 2010. They began discussing ways to flee the state in July.

      Ray, 27, had come to the area to visit a friend in Lancaster County about in mid-July and had met Dupuis, a landscape worker, at a bar in Rising Sun, south of the Pennsylvania border. When she went back to Titusville, she told Clark about Dupuis and they decided to target him and his pickup truck because they believed his lack of apparent family ties would mean his disappearance would go unnoticed for a longer period of time. Giving them plenty of time to drive to the West Coast.

      Ost-Prisco said that Clark had let Ray know that they would have to murder Dupuis because of his ability to identify her after stealing his truck.

      The night of Aug. 6, Ray called Dupuis and asked him to take her to a friend’s house in Lancaster County, Dupuis, who was due to housesit for his sister in southern Chester County, agreed and met her that night in Maryland. Clark was there when Dupuis arrived, and Ray introduced him as her cousin.

      On the ride to Lancaster County, Ray faked being sick as they drove along a stretch of Lee’s Bridge Road that was far from any surrounding house, and Clark asked him to stop the car so she could throw up. She went to the rear of the truck, and Dupuis followed. Clark snuck up on Dupuis.

      “It’s nothing personal,” Clark allegedly told Dupuis as he leveled a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic at him. “I just need your keys and your truck.”

      Dupuis turned to run back to the cab of his 2006 GMC Sierra, but Clark shot him in the back. As Dupuis climbed into the driver’s seat and tried to start the truck to escape, Clark shot him again, this time in the neck. The bullet went through Dupuis, severing his spine, exiting his shoulder and continuing through the truck’s front passenger side window, breaking it to pieces. Dupuis died immediately from the two wounds, sometime around 10:45 p.m.

      Clark dragged Dupuis’ body from the cab of the truck and rolled it down an embankment, where a passing motorist eventually discovered it the next morning. Clark and ray drove away in the truck, first heading to Baltimore, Md., and then to central Pennsylvania. They stopped in Breezewood to float a bad check for gas money, and drove to Indianapolis, Ind., to stay with a friend of Ray’s.

      State police, however, caught up with the pair there. Taken into custody, both Clark and ray gave incriminating statements, confessing their participation in the crime.

      Those family members and friend of Dupuis who spoke at the sentencing hearing before Sarcione focused on his gentle and kind nature, pointing out that his final act in life was to try to help out a woman who was almost a complete stranger. But they also expressed their anger and rage at Clark for taking his life for so pointless a reason.

      “I wish only one thing for this young man who took my son as he walks into prison – tat he lives a long life,” said Joan Dupuis, who is an administrator at the Daily Local News, as about 60 family members and friends of the victim listened in the courtroom.

      “My life has become a struggle, a burden if you will,” said the victim’s sister, Stephanie Wood, who said she second guesses herself repeatedly about what would have happened if she had invited him to go on vacation with her family that week instead of asking him to housesit. “I have a pain forever in my heart. I hope (Clark) knows how much he meant to us.”

      Dupuis brother, Michael Dupuis, dispelled the notion that Dupuis would not have been missed because of his lack of an immediate family by pointing to the love that his nephews and godchildren had for the generous uncle who did his best to spoil them. At his funeral service, he said, mourners lined up “around the block to pay their respects.”

      Ray is still being held without bail in Chester County, also charged with first, second, and third degree murder. Her attorney, Alex Silow of West Chester, attended a portion of Clark’s hearing but left as Sarcione began a long, involved and exhaustive colloquy asking Clark if he knew what rights he was giving up by entering the guilty plea.

      Silow said that he was still reviewing the evidence in the case with his client and that they had made no immediate decision on how to proceed.


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