Murder trial begins for Hampden man accused of killing his sister-in-law

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The trial of a Hampden man accused of shooting and killing his sister-in-law in July of 2018 began in a Bangor courtroom today.

56-year-old Philip Clark has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Renee Clark.

Opening statements were made by both the prosecution and defense Friday morning.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Bogue says, "In the late evening hours of July 11th 2018, Philip Clark took his gun. He confronted her, and when he didn't like her response, he shot at her. She tried to get away from him, and he shot at her again, and again, and again."

The prosecution addressed the jury saying Philip Clark admitted to killing Renee Clark who was estranged from her husband, Philip Clark's brother.

Bogue says, "In his own words, you'll hear him say, 'I shot her until I killed her.'"

The defense didn't argue that fact.

Defense Attorney Logan Perkins says, "He shot her. He pulled that trigger in a blind rage."

Philip Clark has pleaded not guilty to the intentional or knowing murder of Renee Clark.

Perkins told the jury that several events, including a physical altercation with former Bangor Priest and friend of Renee Clark, Reverend Anthony Cipolle, in the weeks leading up to the killing caused Philip Clark to explode "like a bucket overflows."

She says, "Phil said, he described it as he just saw red. He went to some primal place and he did, he pulled that trigger, and he pulled it and pulled it and pulled it which is consistent with this extreme rage."

Perkins seemed to be setting up their case seeking a manslaughter verdict although she didn't tell the jury that directly.

She says, in this case, circumstances matter, "The state has the responsibility to prove without a reasonable doubt that he did this intentionally or knowingly and that there weren't other circumstances involved that form a defense."

Perkins says they plan to call Reverend Anthony Cipolle as a key witness in the trial that's expected to last late into next week.

If Clark is convicted of murder, he faces 25 years to life.