Mother of victim in OD death speaks out

Knoxville (WVLT) - The man accused of murdering a Knox County woman is free on bond. Rick Clark is charged with killing Penny Welch.

Family members are thrilled about the charges. In an exclusive interview with Clark, he maintains his innocence.

This trailer at 2105 Campbell Road in Knoxville has a haunting past. Four women have taken their final breaths here where Rick Clark lives.

"I hope he goes to jail for a long time," said Betty Pike, the mother of one of the women who died at Clark's home.

Betty Pike is the mother of Penny Lynn Welch--the fourth woman to die at Clark's home.

"Four girls how many more has to go before he goes?" Pike said.

Clark's wife, Theresa Bozeman died there in 2000, followed by Kara Kirby in 2004 and Penny Bright in 2005. Betty was happy to hear police arrested Clark.

"We finally got some justice maybe a little and a whole lot of satisfaction," Pike said.

Police charged Clark with second degree murder instead of first.

"We didn't feel we could prove it was premeditated that he was trying to kill her," Knox County Sheriff JJ Jones said.

Welch had a lethal dose of morphine in her body when she died according to autopsy results.

"We feel he facilitated the injection and she ultimately died," Jones said.

Sheriff JJ Jones says they have two witnesses who confessed to watching Clark inject morphine into Welch's body, but Clark doesn't know how.

"They say they had a couple witnesses on TV. There was only one girl here, I don't know where the couple of witnesses come from," Clark said.

Now Pike and Clark wait for the trial to see what jurors think about the deaths in this trailer. Sheriff Jones says it's unlikely any other charges will be brought against Clark for the other 3 deaths.

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  • by Bob on Jun 21, 2008 at 12:42 PM
    Has there been a trial yet? How did it go? what was the evidence?
  • by Bob on Mar 19, 2008 at 11:04 PM
    "used with his knowledge" may be true, but if so, that means that any parent or person that has anyone in their house that has a drug problem can be charged. I think the witness is the key: if the people that died did have a drug problem, unless there is a witness that Mr Clark was directly involved, it's hard to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they didn't do it to themselves. I'm not defending him, just saying getting a conviction isn't as easy as people think IF those women had a problem. And, other than the first two (wife, fiancee), why where they there? It all plays out before a jury.
  • by Lacy Location: Knoxville on Mar 19, 2008 at 12:11 AM
    Murder can be established in their deaths without a doubt. You must realize that they are establishing that illegal drugs were being used, with Clark's knowledge. This is a felony. Any death that occurs while a felony is being commited is MURDER. Furthermore, 4 deaths, 4 women who are similar in size, looks, and had similar deaths in the same home with same witness who happened to have same drugs in his possesion. What more evidence do you need? If this was on CSI, we would be looking for a serial killer. The law regarding accidental overdoses not being against the law is for the protection of someone dying in your home and you are UNaware that they are using drugs. One is a coincidence, any more than that is MURDER.
  • by Bob on Mar 8, 2008 at 03:06 PM
    Regardless of what he might have done, it takes evidence to charge. IF the women were drug addicts and died of an overdose, it's hard to prove someone else is responsible. It looks like here the police believe they have two witnesses, although Mr Clark says no one else was there. So likely in court it will be "who are the witnesses" and how credible they are. Are they addicts? What state were they in at the time they witnessed anything? Are they under charges themselves and made a deal with the police? It may be a very hard case in court. But at least some facts instead of rumors will come out. Her family and other witnesses will be under oath to state that Ms Welch was not a drug user, had no reason to take drugs or be at his house, etc.
  • by Michael Location: Knoxville, TN on Mar 6, 2008 at 10:08 AM
    It's about time that he was charged for anything. I have empathy for the families that were and are still involved. I have a hard time understanding why the other three women did not trigger such a response.


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