Local News

Murder suspect tried to buy gun day of homicide

Posted June 25, 2009 10:52 p.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2009 8:34 a.m. EDT

— Court documents show the suspect in the death of Paula McCance, 83, who was found dead at 6937 Rock Service Station Road on Monday, tried to buy a gun the day of the homicide.

Highway Patrol officials arrested Michael Thomas Clark Jr., 37, during a traffic stop on Thursday.

Deputies charged him with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny of a motor vehicle, first-degree burglary, possession of heroin and conspiracy to sell and deliver heroin.

He appeared before a magistrate around 3 a.m. Friday and was expected to be in court at 2 p.m.

According to arrest warrants, Clark broke into McCance's home sometime between 9:10 p.m. Sunday and 2:30 a.m. Monday. He stole her purse, credit cards, garage door opener, a cell phone and her Pontiac car, authorities said.

McCance was shot once in the upper body, officials said.

"He's homeless, but he was staying in a double-wide mobile home at 6941 Rock Service Station Road, which is right behind Ms. McCance," said Sheriff Donnie Harrison. "It's sad that (an 83-year-old woman) suffered from this. I mean, there's no reason to kill anybody, especially somebody that age and somebody with failing health."

A relative called 911 after finding McCance's body inside the home around 5:30 p.m. Monday. McCance lived alone but her sister was supposed to be moving in with her on Tuesday.

Family members have planned a memorial service for 2 p.m. Saturday at Montlawn Funeral Home Chapel, 2911 S. Wilmington St. in Raleigh.

On the same day McCance was found dead inside her home, the FBI informed probation officials that Clark tried to buy a gun at a Raleigh pawn shop. He was denied, but the attempt triggered a warrant for his arrest for a probation violation on Wednesday.

Court documents show Clark has a criminal history.

In May 2008, Clark was arrested on drug charges. He was found guilty and sentenced to probation.

In July and October last year and January of this year, court papers show Clark missed scheduled probation meeting. Probation officials said he attended other meetings and met with officers, so no arrest warrant was issued.

In April, probation officials reported that Clark was nowhere to be found.