Defense says Clarkson wanted to get away from shooter

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

DERIDDER, LA.(KPLC) -He wasn't the trigger man. But prosecutors say Terry Clarkson was very much responsible for Jack Mayeaux's murder...

Testimony began today, in Clarkson's murder trial, but not before the prosecution and the defense made opening statements.

The 56 year old Mayeaux is described as a man who lived in rural Beauregard Parish and didn't bother anybody. Say prosecutors, Mayeaux was murdered because men helping him at with his estate sale over several weeks wanted his money and his stuff.

James Ramsdell is the man prosecutors say shot Mayeaux six times at close range including two shots to the back of the head-- but assistant D.A. Richard Morton says Clarkson was his partner in crime who helped plan and carryout the murder and alibi.

Yet the defense says the state rushed to judgement in indicting Clarkson and should have looked more closely at a man who is a key witness in the case-- Darrel Bruce. Bruce was fifteen at the time and a close associate of Ramsdell's. Bruce's mother took him to Mississippi soon after the murder. Bruce is said to have witnessed the killing and eventually told what he knew to law enforcement.

After the murder prosecutors say the three stole money, guns, coins and other items and that the murder weapon was buried in the backyard where Clarkson and Ramsdell had been staying at Ramsdell's mother's property. They also allegedly burned their cloths, split up the cash and discussed alibi's.

Then Clarkson left on a bicycle.

The defense attorney says Clarkson was trying to get away from James Ramsdell when he got on a bicycle and rode 25 miles to Westlake. He says Clarkson was trying to get away from the man he had just seen execute Jack Mayeaux.

As well Clarkson's attorney says he had no motive to kill Jack Mayeaux and has expressed remorse for his death saying Mayeaux was a good man.

On Wednesday the trial won't start until 1 PM due to the death of retired Judge Buddy Stewart who died yesterday.

The late start will allow court personnel to attend Judge Stewart's funeral.

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