Family fights, again, to keep killer in prison | Crime
CONCORD - Imagine if a man who kidnapped a teenage girl, sexually assaulted her - and then beat her to death - was released from prison.
You'd think he would be required to at least register as a sexual predator, right?
Think again ...
The man who killed 19-year-old Phoebe Barbee in Cabarrus County 34 years ago is up for parole, and Phoebe Barbee's family is fighting to keep him locked away.
If this story was just about Roger Warren Clark, that would be a disservice to Phoebe Barbee.
"Phoebe was just one of those special people you meet in your life, she was generous, kind, genuine to the core," Phoebe's sister Sonja Barbee told WBTV. Phoebe's family, her friends, her Central Cabarrus Class of 1977, they all miss the former homecoming queen.
"She just loved life," Barbee added.
And that's why they're so passionate about keeping Phoebe's killer behind bars. You might not think they would need to.
In 1978, Clark, driving and old green pick up truck, tricked 19-year-old Barbee into thinking something was wrong with her car as she was driving home from her shift at Wendy's. Barbee pulled over, then Clark kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and beat Phoebe Barbee to death.
Several months later, Clark was found guilty. He was given two life sentences in that case, and a third for kidnapping another woman the same day.
"He seemed such a nice young man, really trying to help me," Gay Porter told WBTV. "I would hate to see anybody elses life in jeopardy and I'm afraid that if he does get out, he'll be ready to kill again."
Because of sentencing guidelines in place in North Carolina at the time, Clark first came up for parole in 1999. And the thought of Clark being released terrifies the family, not for their safety, but for society.
"It's beyond a justice issue for the family, it's a safety issue for the community," Barbee said. "This is a man that's 55-years-old, it was a predatory crime and a very brutal crime, and because of the time he was sentenced, he's not required - if he is released - to register as a sexual predator, or any kind of predator for that matter. He's free to go wherever he wants to, he can live next door to whoever he wants to, move next door to you."
Armed with hundreds of letters, even a Facebook campaign, the family is once again ready to go to Raleigh as they have so many times before. They'll make the trip on Tuesday to convince the Parole Commission that Roger Clark should never leave prison.
"Having to go up there every year and relive the details, the pain of the whole event, it's tough of the family. It's like scratching a scab off, it never heals," Barbee added.
One thing has changed for the family. From 1999 until 2009 they had to make the case against Clark's release every single year. In 2009 Cabarrus District Attorney Roxann Vaneekhoven worked with state lawmaker Jeff Barnhardt to change the law to make such meetings happen every three years.
Barbee says that does make it easier on the family, but it does cause her to worry that the case could be forgotten.
Those wishing to help in the family's campaign or learn more about it can visit these links:
Letters can be mailed to:
- Chairman Tony Rand
- N.C. Post Release Supervision and Parole Commission
- 2020 Yonkers Road
- 4222 Mail Service Center
- Raleigh, NC 27699-4222
The family said to include the following information in any letters:
- Offender: Roger Warren Clark
- DOC No. 0077814
- County of Conviction: Cabarrus
- Convictions: First-Degree Kidnapping-two counts, First-Degree Murder-one count
For more information, visit the Justice for Phoebe Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Phoebe/160515614067120 .
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