Man facing 10 years for killing wife takes own life in Courthouse parking lot


A hearing was scheduled for today in Cleveland County regarding the January 2022 death of Mary Beth Clark. Mary Beth is the mother of former Deltaplex Radio employee and White Hall resident Clint Jackson.  Clark’s husband, 61 year old Stephen Clark was in court to plea to 10 years in connection with the wreck on Jan 2, 2022 that left Mary Beth deceased.   Just before his time in front of the judge he excused himself, was left unattended, walked out to the parking lot and took his own life. He was taken to Jefferson Regional Hospital where he died from his injuries. Mr. Clark was out on bond and drove himself to the hearing where he would have gone directly into custody.  The negotiated plea deal was for 10 years and he was to serve 7.5 years.

The Arkansas Justice Project had the following information on this case:

Ten days prior to her death, she had filed for divorce from her husband Steve Clark. Steve Clark is listed as an instructor at the Arkansas Fire Training Academy in Camden, and has served as a part time Deputy with the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department. Marybeth had confided with family and friends that the marriage had been abusive and Steve’s drinking had become a worsening problem. Marybeth reached out to Steve’s family for help as well. With her safety becoming increasingly at risk, she made the decision to file for divorce. She left the marital home on December 30th, 2021 after increasing threats to her life, leaving only with what she had on her persons. She returned to the house on Jan 2nd to retrieve her medications and pack all her clothes, but within 20 minutes of her arriving, she was dead.

In those 20 minutes, Steve had somehow coerced Marybeth into his Jeep. Approximately a mile down, heading Northbound on Hwy 63, the vehicle left the roadway, hitting a fence and running into a tree. It was determined the Jeep was traveling at speeds in excess of 90mph during the one mile drive. Steve Clark was determined to be intoxicated. Marybeth died at the scene. The crash took place at 9:45am. It’s hard to imagine Marybeth getting into the vehicle willingly with Steve. She had spoken with friends and family about his violence, drinking and escalating threats to her. She spoke with his family about getting him some help, they offered her prayers. She took all the steps to leave the abusive marriage, she had filed for divorce and moved out of the home, yet on the day she returns, she is killed with 20 minutes of arriving at the home. Marybeth’s friends and family know she would have never willingly gotten into that Jeep while he was drunk. It begs the question, were all of her injuries sustained solely in the accident, or was there more to the accident?