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Suspect in teen soccer player's death has criminal history

Posted November 17, 2014

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— A Knightdale man accused of firing a gunshot that killed a 13-year-old boy sleeping in his Raleigh hotel room Friday night has a long criminal record with more than two dozen convictions and was not supposed to be carrying a gun.

Randall Louis Vater, 42, of 3701 Kemp Drive, Knightdale, made his first court appearance Monday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Nathan Andrew Clark, of Lewisville.

Nathan was in town for a soccer tournament and was staying at the Comfort Suites hotel on Corporation Parkway with his family when, police said, a shot fired in an adjacent room penetrated a wall and hit Nathan in the head.

Vater was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon – because of a March 31, 2014, conviction in which he served six months in prison for violating a domestic violence protective order.

In asking a District Court judge to keep Vater's bond at $1 million, District Attorney Ned Mangum noted Vater is on parole for that conviction and that he has 28 prior convictions that qualify him as a habitual felon.

Those convictions, over the past several decades, include hit-and-run, communicating threats, assault on a female and breaking-and-entering.

His most recent stems from a July 2013 protective order in which a woman complained that Vater, at one point, pushed her into a window and threatened to kill her. He was arrested in December 2013 after he cut the woman in the chest with a buck knife

Court records show there have been several other protective orders against Vater, including one where a woman said he threatened to kill her and her family with a pipe bomb.

Talking to reporters after Vater's court appearance, Mangum would not comment on why Vater was at the hotel Friday night, what he was doing when the gun went off or any other details of the police investigation.

"All I really can say is that this is just a heart-wrenching situation. I feel so bad for this family. It's so sad," Mangum said. "As a parent, it just makes you want to go home and hug your kids a little tighter at night."

Nathan was an eighth-grader at Calvary Baptist Day School in Winston-Salem and played varsity soccer for the school.

"Nathan was a terrific and gifted young man who had a great love for people, and he will be greatly missed," Richard Hardee, associate pastor and head of the school, said in a statement.


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  • disgusted2010 Nov 18, 2014

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    Do you really believe this man would try to buy a gun the right way? Do you not understand that background checks do no good in preventing people like this from obtaining guns? Perhaps you should just admit that your calling for more and more background checks is only one step toward total elimination of guns.

  • Sean Creasy Nov 18, 2014
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    While I know that money does play a big part ultimately it is up to the judge and jury to set things right, not the lawyers...

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 18, 2014

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    Right. Let's repeal murder laws, because they don't stop people from murdering.


  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 18, 2014

    We clearly don't need any background checks for gun purchases...


  • disgusted2010 Nov 18, 2014

    WRAL has made a big deal about the person's criminal record, but in other circumstances they would be the first ones to come to his defense and cast aspersions on law enforcement.

  • Hecate Nov 18, 2014

    My heart goes out to this family. What a horrible tragedy that could have been prevented if some judge had put this miscreant behind bars along time ago. I just pray his family will eventually find some closure and peace.

  • Angie Cox Nov 18, 2014
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    torchhappysean - do you know it's all about the money? it's all about the attorney you hire. Look at OJ Simpson - he hired a attorney and got away with murder. RIP to the handsome young man. Your life ended way to early due to scumbag!

  • Itsmyopinion67 Nov 18, 2014

    What a waste! This poor innocent kid dies, and this scum bag keeps on living. Hopefully someone works him over real nice in jail. I wish nothing but the worst for him for the rest of his pathetic, miserable life.

  • Sean Creasy Nov 18, 2014
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    When is our court system going to quit "slapping" these people on the wrist and start imposing harsh sentences for crimes like this? This guy, being a convicted felon in possession of a fire arm where someone was killed as a direct result, should get a life sentence with no chance of parole for his crime. Accident or not he knew good and well that he WAS NOT allowed to possess a firearm and now, due to his flagrant disregard for the law, that poor child is dead. Stricter gun laws on honest citizens wouldn't have prevented this. He would have gotten one anyway. The only way to keep guns away from criminals is to make the punishment so severe they would be terrified to even touch one...

  • 68_dodge_polara Nov 18, 2014

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    He should already be in prison for a long time which would have prevented this entirely.