ONLY ON WVLT: Knox man charged in woman's OD murder speaks out

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- What was once said to be an accidental drug overdose, the sheriff's department now calls murder, for one of four women in an East Knox County mobile home.

48 year old Ricky Clark is charged with second degree murder in the death of 40-year old Penny Welch.

The Knox County Sheriff's department says he injected her with a lethal dose of morphine on January 13th.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford has more.

Clark was released from jail last night on a $25,000 dollar bond.

You'll recall Clark's wife, Theresa Bozeman died in 2000, Kara Kirby died in 2004 and Penny bright passed away in 2005.

The sheriff's department has ruled those three deaths as accidental drug overdoses, but they now say Clark played a role in the death of Penny Welch.

Clark tells us he's innocent.

"The facts are so distorted. There ain't nobody told the truth about anything."

The Knox County Sheriff's Department says Penny Welch was killed by a drug overdose, but they don't believe it was accidental.

Sheriff J.J. Jones says, "Mr. Clark had been on our radar screen for some time. We finally developed some information and had a witness, which was able to lead us to the second degree murder charge."

An autopsy shows that a toxic dose of morphine is what killed the 40 year old and investigators say it was Clark who injected it.

"If she had morphine in her, it wasn't her first time. I know for a fact she's done morphine, for a fact. "But you had nothing to do with it?" No, Ma'am."

Clark tells us he takes morphine for his back and burnt feet, and says he never injected Welch with anything.

"Did you inject the morphine? No."

Clark says he put a roof over Welch's head when she had nowhere to go.

"Somebody stays at your house and they charge you with second degree murder. That was a friendship deal. They wasn't a friend, but they was homeless and it was cold and now I'm being charged with murder."

Clark tells us he's in the process of hiring an attorney and in the meantime.

"I'll never let anybody stay in this house again."

We also asked Clark about the other three women's deaths and he tells me they were accidental drug overdoses.

Sheriff Jones tells they are continuing to investigate the other three deaths and looking into the possibility of other charges, but says it doesn't look likely right now.

We called for Penny Welch's mother, Betty Pike, as well as Theresa Bozeman's sister, Donna Wilkerson, and neither of them returned my phone calls.

Clark is scheduled for court March 26th.


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