Friday, May 19, 2006
Man Guilty in '02 Slaying
By Dan McKay
Journal Staff Writer
Guards handcuffed a quiet Clark Perry on Thursday as jurors convicted him of murder, armed robbery and other charges in the 2002 death of Nick Nellos.
Perry, 32, could be sentenced to up to 85 years in prison, prosecutors said, based on quick estimates. He faces sentencing today before state District Judge Denise Barela Shepherd.
Nellos, an engineer and businessman, was shot in July 2002 after his truck was hit by a car. He had gotten out to see whether Perry and another man in the vehicle were OK.
"It was a chance encounter," said Jeff Lahann, deputy district attorney. Nellos "got out and tried to help them. They killed him. They killed him for trying to help."
Jurors deliberated for three days before finding Perry guilty of second-degree murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and related charges.
Police say Perry and an accomplice, Timothy Hawkins, robbed two convenience stores before their car ran a stop sign and broadsided Nellos' truck at Girard and Silver SE. They shot Nellos and fled on foot, later kidnapping a woman, authorities say.
Perry was found not guilty of armed-robbery charges related to the kidnapping.
Hawkins, 33, is serving a 46-year sentence for pleading guilty to murder and robbery.
Perry backed out of a plea deal that could have meant a 55-year sentence.
Family and friends of Nellos quietly hugged and cried after the verdict was read. Some through tears used their cell phones to spread the news.
A spokeswoman said the family didn't want to talk to reporters Thursday. Nellos was a 39-year-old married father of three.
Perry entered and left the courtroom shackled at the ankles. He wore a light-blue shirt and patted down his hair several times as he awaited the verdict.
A defense attorney suggested last week that Perry is mentally retarded.
Four deputies and two officers from the Metropolitan Detention Center guarded him as the verdict was read.