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Sex, drugs, plea in murder case

Dama Clark, among four people charged with capital murder in the shooting of a Houston County man, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Booking photo of Dama Nell Clark from Houston County Jail.
Booking photo of Dama Nell Clark from Houston County Jail.(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 1:39 AM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Dama Clark, among four people charged with capital murder in the shooting of a Houston County man, has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Clark, on Thursday, entered a manslaughter plea deal related to the 2016 death of 21-year-old Paxton Kennedy. Her trial had been scheduled this week.

Per previous testimony, Clark, 47, promised to have sex with Kennedy in exchange for methamphetamine. Instead, the real motive of that January rendezvous was to collect a drug debt that Kennedy owed and, to intimidate Kennedy, Clark brought along her friend, Joshua Nance.

In his capital murder trial, Nance testified that, holding a handgun, he approached Kennedy who was also armed and sitting in his pickup.

Nance testified that his pistol accidentally discharged when Kennedy “popped” the (truck’s) clutch, causing the vehicle to lunge forward and brush Nance’s hand. He told jurors he and Clark panicked and sped away, unaware that Kennedy had been shot until they heard news reports the following day. A jury convicted him of manslaughter.

Capital murder charges against the two others, Eric West and Pamela Whitaker, have been dismissed. Neither was at the crime scene, though investigators claimed they had been indirectly involved in Kennedy’s death and charged them under Alabama’s complicity law.

Houston County Circuit Judge Larry Anderson sentenced Clark to serve 20 years but will consider placing her on probation during a September 3 hearing.

(This story updated to reflect 20 year sentence and probation request.)

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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