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Murder case against East Deer husband heads for trial

| Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, 3:41 p.m.
Thomas Edwin Clark, 50, charged Saturday, July 6, 2013 with homicide and abuse of a corpse for killing his wife Jill Clark, 60.
Jill Clark, 50, of East Deer, was beaten to death by her husband in July 2013.

An East Deer man accused of murdering his wife in July waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Friday.

Tom Clark, 50, of West Ninth Avenue is charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. Detectives found Jill Clark's decomposing body on July 6 in a wooded area near a gas utility road off Old Leechburg Road in Plum.

Jill Clark's co-workers at the Penn Hills Post Office reported her missing on July 2 when she failed to show up for work. Her whereabouts were unknown until Tom Clark told authorities that on July 1 he struck his wife two or three times in the head with a floor jack “in a fit of rage” over what he claimed was his wife's decade-long affair with a co-worker, according to a police criminal complaint.

Clark allegedly told police he wrapped his wife's remains in plastic and drove around the Oakmont and Plum area trying to find a place to dispose of the body. He allegedly later returned to the site and removed the plastic and tape and disposed of the items in various places in other communities.

At first, Clark told police his wife had left their house between 2 and 3 a.m. July 2 after the couple argued, and he had not seen her since.

About six family members and a few friends attended Clark's hearing on Friday.

After the short proceeding, Barbara Winters of Carrick, Jill Clark's coworker at the Penn Hills Post Office, tried to hold back tears as she described her longtime friend as a wonderful friend and mother.

“She was an amazing woman,” Winters said. “I couldn't picture her without a smile. Nothing seems the same since this happened.”

Family members declined to comment.

In the days before police discovered Jill Clark's body, her son, Edwin, told police that he suspected Tom Clark murdered his mother.

He said he smelled a strong odor of bleach in the basement of the Clarks' home, saw Tom Clark using a grinding stone to grind off the soles of his work boots and saw him replace the rubber floor mats in his Dodge Caravan, according to a criminal complaint.

Police arrested Thomas Clark the night of July 5 in Deer Lakes Park. He was bloody and apparently had tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists and ingesting a large amount of heroin, the criminal complaint states.

Clark will be formally arraigned in Allegheny County Court on Sept. 24.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 orjweigand@tribweb.com.

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