The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 7, 2008

All sides await end to deliberations in murder trial

BEDFORD — On Thursday, a more subdued, weary group came to the Bedford County Courthouse prepared to spend another day awaiting a verdict in the Joseph W. Clark capital murder trial.

Friends, family and interested parties try to find ways to make the time go more quickly as they await a verdict, a decision that now may not come as jurors say they’re at an impasse.

Clark, 49, of Everett, charged nearly three years ago in the kidnapping and murder of Holly Notestine, spends his days in a secure holding area on the first floor of the recently completed addition of the historic courthouse.

He is brought to the second-floor courtroom only when there is a question or request from the jury. At all times, he is accompanied by two sheriff’s deputies.

Clark usually speaks briefly to his defense team, attorneys Thomas Crawford and Barbara Weiss, and always nods to his mother, Eunice Clark, and fiancee, Joan Baum.

Eunice Clark and Baum, who speak in subdued voices and avoid eye contact with most, spend part of their day on a wooden bench in the middle of the courtroom behind the defense table. They also have access to a small room next to the courtroom.

On Thursday, Eunice Clark read a Bible in the morning and by afternoon had switched to a paperback.

The victim’s family also has been represented at the trial.

Ronald Grubb, Notestine’s partner, and the couple’s daughter, Chasity, are present every day, as are two of Notestine’s older sisters.

Meanwhile, District Attorney William Higgins and his assistant, Travis Livengood, wait for the jury in their first-floor offices, where they attempt to work on other cases.

“We’re trying to do other things, but it’s difficult. It’s hard to concentrate,” Higgins said.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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