Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arrogance + Stupidity = Life in the Pen

by Connie Park

One of the true advantages of being a homicide detective is seeing people at their best, and at their worst. When I think of people at their worst, Vellar Clark comes to mind.

Houston Police Department Homicide Sgt. Gonzales and I were working Evening Shift on a cold Sunday afternoon in March of 2006. We received a call that a woman had been found shot to death behind a warehouse near Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas.

My partner and I arrived at the scene and found a woman who had been shot in the back of the head. She was sitting on a motorcycle, and was slumped over. Next to the body, we found a white powder substance that resembled cocaine. Whoever committed this horrible killing wanted to make it look like a "dope deal gone bad." Our intuition, however, told us it was not.

We had the onerous task of calling this young woman's mother, and found out that she had been in a relationship with a man named Vellar Clark. We also put a name on the face of the woman we found dead at this lonely and isolated scene. Her name was Gwen Sneed. We resolved to find the person who did this, and we worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrator to justice.

We did not have to look very hard. Gwen's mother informed us that Gwen was happy about finding out she was pregnant. Gwen's mother also told us that Gwen had already lost a child at a young age, so she was thrilled about the prospect of being a mother. Gwen didn't have any enemies, and we knew that there was only one person who didn't want her to have that child. That one horrible person was none other than Vellar Clark.

Clark had gotten Gwen pregnant. He was also the father of Gwen's first child, who had been found dead in his crib under very suspicious circumstances.

We brought Clark in to find out where he was on the afternoon that Gwen was shot. He told us that he had seen her earlier in the day, but they left on good terms and he went home. He denied ever calling Gwen on the day that she had been killed. However, he did not realize that he had left a trail. We cut him loose and obtained his cell phone records. What we found out was telling—he had called her no fewer than six times on the day she was shot in the back of the head. He had initially denied being at the scene, but due to the activity on his phone, we knew that he was less than one-quarter of a mile from the scene when Gwen made a call on her cell phone. He lied to us, and we knew it. He was guilty, and we had to go about proving it.

After working tirelessly on shoring up this case, we developed enough evidence to get an arrest warrant for Vellar Clark. We had discovered that he owned a .45 semi automatic Smith & Wesson, which was consistent with the spent round that was found in Gwen's head.

Months after this killing had taken place, Vellar Clark was arrested. We interviewed him again, and again, he vehemently denied being at the murder scene. He told us that he had dated Gwen Sneed in the past, but denied being told that she was pregnant. We confronted him with his own cell phone records, and he was boxed into a corner.

Clark then admitted to being at the scene, but told us that Gwen had shot herself with his gun because he told her "she couldn't be with him." He had convinced himself that he was so important, Gwen would take her life and that of her unborn child simply because she was depressed about getting dumped. We caught him in so many lies that we lost count. We asked him to reenact exactly how Gwen "shot herself." His explanation was laughable.

Nearly two years later, we went to trial. We worked hard with the prosecuting attorney on the case to find justice for Gwen Sneed. We did. After a five-day trial, it took a jury less than three hours to convict Vellar Clark of Capital Murder. It was a capital murder because Clark shot Gwen in the head, knowing that she was pregnant.

We found out that he did it, basically because he viewed the victim as a nuisance and didn't want to pay child support for her baby. He was already paying child support for two other kids he had fathered out of wedlock. While Gwen was a daughter, a sister, and a very loving person to those who knew her, she was nothing but a financial burden to Vellar Clark.

And guess what, Clark's stupidity and his arrogance caught up with him. He will have the rest of his life in a Texas prison to think about it.

10 comments:

FleaStiff said...

You seem to paint this guy in a very bad light. I wonder what it was that the (atleast) three women saw in him. I also wonder how if the earlier death had been under suspicious circumstances the victim not only continued seeing him but also got pregnant by him again. If he hadn't wanted another kid then why did she tell him she was pregnant?
Texas collected so much child support from him, he killed either once or three times depending upon your views of such matters. Texas then spent over a thousand times that amount executing him and will ofcourse collect no more child support from him.

FleaStiff said...

Wow... its Texas and yet they gave him Life. Guess Texas law didn't consider it that important either, 'cause in Texas they usually just execute them after the formality of a trial.

Well, either way... the kids are still not getting any child support payments except perhaps from the taxpayers who now also have to pay the fathers food and doctor bills.

cheryl said...

Yeah, they should never have arrested him because these women were stupid enough to fall for him in the first place, and now what are those other two children going to do without their beloved (and I'm sure he was current in his child support) father in their lives? It's so tragic.

Death and taxes... It's a bi*ch isn't it?

Gwen who?

Leah said...

Yes and he didn't want kids but he kept screwing women without using any protection. How brilliant!! A couple of rubbers, or even abstinance [God forbid] and clark might not be pissing our tax dollars away.

Nothing should ever get in the way common sense.

FleaStiff said...

I assume he was too arrogant to use a rubber or to even consider a vasectomy. I don't think he really objected to fathering children, he objected to having to pay child support. He probably had quite a few other problems too.

cheryl said...

Flea...you said the author of this column painted him in a "bad light"? Even you said he had myriad problems. I have to say I don't get you at all. And you probably take that as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

In the article it says that Gwen was thrilled to be a mother, but in the link it says she already had a child 8 years old. Gwen must have loved this man very much. Some blame him for not using rubbers. Neither did Gwen use something to prevent conception. It is a sad story, but for me difficult to understand why Gwen stayed with this man.

Anonymous said...

Gwen didn't love the man...she just wanted children.

Anonymous said...

I was familiar with this case and don't recall seeing the author's name on any documents associated with the case... Neither did I see her testify as a witness in the case (I watched the trial). Strange... Gwen loved Vellar Clark and wanted him to leave his wife. Her death is a tragedy .... But don't be deceived, Clark wasn't all evil. In addition to the fact that he was paying child support (prosecutors introduced evidence of it at his trial to prove motive), he supported Gwen when they were together. And she saw something good in him and wanted HIS baby. She wanted him and saw the baby as a means to that end. She was a beautiful girl and could easily get men. If she only wanted a baby, she could have hooked up with another guy and had a baby. Plenty of guys would have loved that arrangement. But she wanted Clark.... Love is truly blind. But ladies, stay away from married men. Those relationships are nothing but trouble and usually end badly. A married man who will cheat with you, will certainly cheat on you.

Anonymous said...

I am the mother of Gwen and what was written by CONNIE PARKS of the Houston homiside divison is all true but being the mother there is much more not told I knew. Clark planned this and tried to cover this up for how he killed her. She would of never thought to ever take her own life NO matter the depression she was faced with. Her daughter was her world and she yrs was happy to be having another baby after the loosing her little boy of 5 months from what she suspected was murder by Vellar while she was at night school. My grandaughter was 8 but can tell me she remembers that night knowing her brother was crying and he locked her in her room..then she did not hear him cry anymore. My daughter returned from school and wanted to checked on her boy and Vellar said stop he is sleeping and not to wake him..he knew then he was dead. He is a criminal mind. Death to him by my family was not an option. DA to handle this case was on this and knew he would go down for life never to get out. I wanted this scum to suffer forever. God saw this thru and Vellar will never srr the light at the end of s tunnel. You have no idea how my death of my daughter this way has effected me. I am forever thanful to the homicide division..the DA and judge to bring justice for my daughter.