Charge certified in death

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Suffolk man who reportedly broke into a Battery Avenue apartment in August and, according to authorities, attempted to rob those inside, will be tried for murder.

As Sutaan R. Clark’s family watched Monday, General District Court Judge Jesse E. Demps, who is filling in from Portsmouth, certified a string of charges against Clarence Lee Artis III, 19, of the 300 block of Hunter Street: one count each of murder, armed robbery, armed burglary and wearing a mask in public, and three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The charges will go before a grand jury on Oct 26, said Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Jamerson.

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Clark’s best friend and housemate Tony Hillard testified Monday that he and a friend were watching TV in a bedroom when Artis, wearing a red bandanna over his face and armed with a revolver, walked in demanding cash and drugs.

The suspect left the bedroom, and then apparently attempted to steal a black purse from Clark’s bedroom, according to court testimony from Hillard and Suffolk Police Department Detective Timothy L. Cooper.

Artis, when being interviewed by police, said he was leaving the apartment with the purse when Clark &uot;rushed me … and the gun went off and hit the dude.&uot;

From inside the bedroom, Hillard said he heard three shots fired, two of which struck 27-year-old Clark, according to investigators.

Artis told police that the shooting was not premeditated, Cooper said.

Artis will remain in Western Tidewater Regional Jail until his trial.