East Deer woman found dead in Plum; husband charged with homicide

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 10:27 a.m.

An East Deer man told police he erupted in a “fit of rage” over his wife's decade-long affair with a co-worker, killing her with blows to the head with a floor jack, according to a police complaint.

Police charged Thomas Edwin Clark, 50, with homicide, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence after detectives found Jill Clark's decomposing body in a wooded area near a gas utility road in Plum around 7:10 a.m. Saturday. Thomas Clark waited in the Allegheny County Jail for arraignment.

An autopsy was not complete on Jill Clark Saturday to determine the cause and manner of death.

On Friday night at approximately 10:40 p.m., detectives from the Allegheny County Police Homicide unit found the Clarks' Dodge van parked along a street in New Kensington, Allegheny County Police Lt. Andrew Schurman said. Thomas Clark had loaned the vehicle to a man in exchange for illegal drugs.

Police arrested Thomas Clark Friday night in Deer Lakes Park. He was bloody, and Schurman said he apparently tried to take his own life, cutting his wrists and ingesting 30 stamp bags of heroin.

Police said Thomas Clark told them his wife had left their house at 508 W. Ninth Ave. between 2 and 3 a.m. Tuesday after the couple argued, and he had not seen her since. According to the criminal complaint, Thomas Clark had scratches and marks on his body, and he told police that Jill Clark had “become increasingly aggressive in the past few days and that she was arguing and being physically aggressive with him.”

The complaint continued, “Tom stated that a person can only take so much before they eventually snap.”

Jill Clark, a Postal Service worker, had been reported missing Tuesday by her co-workers when she failed to show up for work. Jill Clark's son, Edwin, told police Friday that “he fully believes that Tom had killed Jill,” police wrote, as he noted that Tom Clark's behavior had become “increasingly disturbing,” and that Clark “had made statements to him including stating he is sorry for the situation and that he didn't think it would get like this.”

After police found Tom Clark in the park, he told them that he confronted his wife about an affair she had with a co-worker, which had caused problems for the couple, police wrote in the complaint.

Tom Clark said that he believed that the affair had ended, but had recently discovered it was still ongoing. During the confrontation, police wrote, Tom Clark said his wife “shoved and slapped him, insulted him, humiliated him,” and he struck her with the floor jack.

Tom Clark told police he wrapped his wife's remains in plastic and dumped the body in brush off a road near the Plum police station. He returned the next day, but could not bring himself to bury her, so he removed the plastic, tape and her clothing and disposed the evidence in various nearby locations.

With the information Clark gave them, investigators found Jill Clark's remains.

Liz Hayes and Bill Vidonic are staff writers for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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