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.