Troy James Clark, 51, was executed by lethal injection on 26 September 2018 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction and murder of a 20-year-old woman.
Clark and Tory Bush used methamphetamine and sold it from their home in Tyler. Christina Muse resided with Clark and Bush briefly. At Clark's trial, Bush testified that when Muse moved out, Clark became "paranoid" that she would "snitch" to the authorities about the couple's drug dealings.
According to Bush's testimony, Muse stopped by the couple's home for a social visit on Tuesday, 19 May 1998. Clark, then 30, attacked Muse with a stun gun and told her she "should have kept [her] mouth shut." He then used duct tape to bind her hands and legs and to cover her mouth. He placed her in a bedroom closet and talked to her for a couple of hours. He eventually left her alone for several hours while he played video games and sold drugs to a customer.
When Clark returned to the bedroom, he moved Muse to the bathroom and asked Bush, 31, to get him a board, which he used to strike Muse on the head. He then filled the bathtub with water and ordered Bush to help him drown Muse by holding her head underwater.
When Muse stopped breathing, Clark had Bush to go buy some lime. Bush went across the street to Amber Scoggins's house to get a ride to the store. Clark then placed the victim's body into a blue, 55-gallon drum. He added cement mix, water, and the lime Bush bought to the barrel, mixed it, and put a lid on it.
The next morning, Clark instructed Bush to place trash and debris in the barrel, on top of the body and cement mixture. Scoggins arrived later with Ben Barnett and Mike Coats. Clark, Barnett and Coats loaded the barrel onto the back of Clark's truck. Clark and Bush then transported the barrel and other trash to the property outside of town belonging to their landlord, Velva Young. Bush testified that Clark subsequently borrowed Young's tractor and used it for about a half an hour. A few days later, he called a towing company and had Muse's car removed from his property.
After her arrest on an unrelated theft charge, Bush began cooperating with the authorities with regard to Muse's disappearance. Using information she supplied, Tyler police found a blue barrel in a ditch on Young's property four months after the killing. The barrel contained the decomposed remains of Muse's body, along with duct tape, lime, and concrete.
At Clark's trial, the pathologist testified that the victim's manner of death was consistent with drowning.
Amber Scoggins testified that when she took Bush to the store to buy lime, she noticed Muse's car in Clark's driveway. She noticed that it was gone a few days later. She also testified that she subsequently got into an argument with Clark, and he warned her, "Keep on, and your picture will end up in the post office right next to [Muse's]. You know, people come up missing around here."
Scoggins further testified that she came into contact with Clark at the county jail in January 1999, and he yelled at her, "You [expletive] bitch ... I should have took care of you, too."
Ben Barnett and Mike Coats each testified that they helped Clark load a blue barrel into Clark's truck. Barnett stated that he noticed a strange car in the driveway. Clark informed him that it belonged to Muse, who had walked down the street to go to work. Coats recognized the car as Muse's. Clark told him that Muse had gone out of town with Tracy Mize.
While searching for Muse's body, authorities also found the body of Tracy Mize floating in a septic tank. Bush testified that she had seen Clark and Mize together near the septic tank, and Mize was in handcuffs. Mize told Clark, "I didn't narc on you." Clark then removed the lid of the septic tank and told Bush to leave. Police believe Clark killed Mize because he knew about Muse's murder. He was not charged with Mize's killing.
At Clark's punishment hearing, outside the presence of the jury, Clark informed the judge and prosecutor that he instructed his attorney not to call any mitigation witnesses and intended to ask the jury to sentence him to death. "They need to finish it and go ahead and kill me," he said. In testimony before the jury, he said, "I really ain't got no story to tell. It's just I want the death penalty."
Clark was also implicated in the 1988 death of Reese Lattrell, a cocaine dealer, allegedly because Clark owed him $1,000 for drugs.
Wesley Crocker testified that Mize and another individual kidnapped him and took him to Clark's cousin's shop. Clark then arrived, beat him with a tire iron, and used a stun gun on him because he owed Clark money. Clark then let Crocker go.
Clark had previously been to prison twice for drug possession. He served 2 months of a 2-year sentence in 1987 and 3 years of an 18-year sentence from 1993 to 1996.
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