Originally created 04/21/00

Murder suspect given option of posting bail



A judge granted bond Thursday for an Augusta man who was accused, but never indicted, in a murder case in the three months since his arrest.

Prosecutors simply do not have any evidence against William C. Clark, 38, of the 1800 block of Estroff Court, defense attorney Richard Allen said Thursday in Richmond County Superior Court.

Mr. Clark has been held in jail without bond since his Jan. 14 arrest. He was charged with murder after Bradford Palmer, 22, told Richmond County sheriff's investigators that he paid Mr. Clark to kill 34-year-old Jacqueline Ballard on Jan. 6.

Assistant District Attorney Shauna Reeves conceded Thursday that prosecutors had only Mr. Palmer's statement that Mr. Clark had participated in Mrs. Ballard's shooting death and a witness who saw the two men with the victim several hours before she was killed. Prosecutors do not have enough evidence now to seek an indictment against Mr. Clark, Ms. Reeves told the judge.

Mr. Allen said he has been informed that scientific tests performed on some of Mr. Clark's clothing proved the stains were not the victim's blood, as initially suspected.

In Georgia, a person arrested on a felony charge is entitled to bond if he is not indicted within 90 days of arrest, Mr. Allen said.

Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. agreed to set a $15,000 bond for Mr. Clark. If he is able to post bail, Mr. Clark is required to report to authorities at least once a week, have no contact with any witness in the case, get a job and stay within Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.

Also on Thursday, Mr. Palmer was arraigned on murder, armed robbery and weapon charges. He is accused of killing Mrs. Ballard and her unborn child Jan. 6. Her body was found in the trunk of a car that Mr. Palmer was driving Jan. 7 when he reportedly almost ran into a car driven by an Augusta Housing Authority deputy.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.



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