Grand jury upgrades murder charge

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2005

The man who allegedly killed 27-year-old Sutaan R. Clark during a thwarted robbery attempt in August could face the death penalty.

After evaluating new evidence, a grand jury on Wednesday issued an indictment charging Clarence Lee Artis III, 19, of the 300 block of Hunter Avenue, with capital murder.

An existing first-degree murder charge will be dropped once the new indictment is served, said Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Jamerson.

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The grand jury also indicted Clark on two counts each of attempted robbery and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The indictments will be added to a string of existing charges: one count each armed robbery, armed burglary and wearing a mask in public, and three additional counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, Jamerson said.

The upgrade to capital murder comes after new evidence was revealed in the autopsy, he added.

“The autopsy report shows sufficient evidence to prove premeditation,” said Jamerson, although he did not specify what that examination uncovered.

Artis, who is being held without bond in Western Tidewater Regional Jail, will be arraigned in Suffolk Circuit Court on Nov. 9.

Artis allegedly broke into Clark’s Battery Avenue apartment on Aug. 29 and attempted to steal cash and drugs at gunpoint, according to recent court testimony.

According to local authorities, Artis, when being interviewed by police shortly after his arrest, said that the shooting was not premeditated.