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Clark’s death ruled suicide

Profile image for By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer
By Donna Fielder / Staff Writer

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office has changed its ruling on the cause of death in a year-old unsolved case from homicide to suicide, but Denton police are not yet ready to close their investigation into the death of James Randal "Randy" Clark. Randy Clark

Clark, 53, was found dead March 29 in the warehouse where he ran a golf-related business on the southbound Interstate 35 service road just south of U.S. Highway 380.

According to an autopsy report, Clark suffered a 3-inch-deep stab wound to the abdomen, a 5-inch-deep stab wound to the thigh, a gunshot wound to the abdomen and a gunshot wound to the chest. The stab wounds came from two different knives.

Troy Taylor, Denton chief death investigator for the medical examiner's office, said Tuesday that pathologists made the decision to change the ruling after studying tests made by a blood-spatter expert and other evidence. Both stab wounds and one of the bullet wounds were survivable, he said. It was possible for Clark to have inflicted all the wounds himself, and the chest wound would have caused his death, Taylor said.

Taylor said police investigators "turned over every single rock that could be turned over" and found no evidence of anyone else at the scene at the time.

"The revolver belonged to Clark's father, who had been a law enforcement officer," Taylor said. "The knives were of a type commonly for sale everywhere. Denton did an excellent job on this investigation."

But Denton police Capt. Lenn Carter said he won't close the homicide investigation until he has gone over all the evidence again.

"I'll review the documentation and make a determination of whether we are going to close the case or not," he said. "Frankly, I'm still not convinced. I need a smoking gun - something to tell me this is a suicide."

Carter said few leads surfaced during the months after Clark's wife, Phyllis Clark, found him dead on the floor of the warehouse at about 7 a.m. She made a tearful plea to television news audiences three days after his death for help in finding the person or persons who killed her husband. No one called in a tip.

The Clarks lived in Argyle, where Phyllis Clark teaches at Argyle High School. They ran a small business out of the warehouse. After a career with AT&T, Clark retired and planned to become a professional golfer. But an injury derailed that dream, and the couple started a business they named Texas Hickory Golf.

The Clarks promoted tournaments that featured old-fashioned golfing. The warehouse contained period outfits - plus-four trousers and other vintage-style clothing - and hickory-shaft golf clubs. Randy Clark traveled often for the business, and police say it was not uncommon for him to be at the warehouse late at night.

His wife told police that he did not return home that night after leaving at about 11 p.m. to load his truck for a sales trip. He did not return her telephone calls, so she drove to the warehouse at about 7 a.m. She found the door locked and her husband dead on the floor inside. There was no sign of a struggle or of anything missing.

Phyllis Clark could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

DONNA FIELDER can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is .