Family protests conviction of Samuel Clark

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 20, 2003

Protesters carried signs and yelled at passing motorists. They marched in front of the Lawrence County Courthouse Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday decrying what they say is a miscarriage of justice.

One sign read "Lawrence County strikes again: wrong sentence and its money in their political pockets."

Another read "Six-month-old baby loses daddy because he could not afford a high priced attorney. There is no justice in Lawrence County. Honk for Sam."

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The protesters were family members of Samuel Clark, the South Point man who was found guilty of felonious assault this week and sentenced to five years in prison. Clark was accused of sucker punching John Morrison of Ashland, Ky., in a bar room fight at Club 54 at the Comfort Inn in South Point last summer.

Clark's mother, Donna Johnson, said her son was convicted of a beating he did not administer because he had ineffective legal counsel. Warren Morford was Clark's court-appointed attorney.

"We want people to know the truth. That's why we're out here. He did not get justice because he had a court-appointed attorney. He (Morford) put no defense witnesses on the witness stand except the two people came down here and got him indicted to begin with," Johnson said. "It was supposed to have been a two-day trial. It ended up being six hours."

Johnson said the family seeks to have a mistrial declared, and if that request is denied, they will appeal the conviction.

Johnson said her son admitted that he hit Morrison, but only once, and then he went back into the bar, leaving Morrison outside with other people. Johnson said someone else dealt the blows that left Morrison with a broken jaw, not her son.

She and other family members said Morford never investigated what happened, and never spoke with people who could have cleared Clark's name.

Johnson said two of the employees of Club 54 whom authorities did not interview have agreed to sign affidavits in Clark's defense.

Morford could not be reached for comment.