|Updated: 11/17/2012 3:38 pm
||Published: 11/16/2012 6:28 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Department of Human Services may have to pay a Little Rock family $1,000,000 dollars for the murder of 67-year old Maurice "Beau" Clark.
The Arkansas State Claims Commission says the Division of Youth Services was liable for allowing a violent juvenile offender out of custody too soon just before the killing.
Tonight, for the first time since the 2009 murder, the family of Beau Clark is sharing their feelings about their father and the state juvenile justice system.
Trey Clark describes his father as a man who loved his family and his southwest Little Rock neighborhood.
All of that ended June 30, 2009 when four kids all 17 and under entered his home, robbed beat and shot Clark to death.
Marshuan Kendrick, Thomas Caffery and Craig woods all pleaded guilty for their roles. But Antonio terry pulled the trigger.
"Our whole life changed. We crumbled, he was our hero,” Clark says. "For Dad to die at the hands of a little kid, a strong man like Dad, was unacceptable."
More infuriating for Clark was learning that Antonio Terry was a violent offender let out of Alexander Youth Services in Bryant against the wishes of his caseworker in May 2009.
Two months later, Beau Clark was dead.
When Terry pleaded guilty to murder in August 2010, circuit judge Herb Wright blamed DYS for letting Terry out to begin with.
DYS director Ron Angel offered his resignation but the head of DHS John Selig kept refused to accept it.
Instead DHS says today changes have been made.
“Previously, there was no mechanism in place for us in the central office to learn of disagreements regarding the potential release of a youth,” spokesperson Amy Webb says. “Now, members of the treatment team must note in our database whether they agree with the decision to release. If they say no, that is an automatic red flag for our staff and we review the case in more detail before making a decision.”
Changes made far too late for Beau Clark and his family says for Terry too.
“If they had kept him for the full 18 months he would not be in prison for that crime for 65 years,” Clark says. “His life is over. My dad's life ended that day. So I forgive Antonio Terry, we all do."
And never forget their father's love and strength.
The Arkansas Claims Commission will hold a hearing on December 13th to determine the financial damages in this case.
It's possible the Department of Human Services will end up paying the Clark family $1,000,000 in damages.