Sheriff: Subject of US manhunt admits killing elderly couple

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Robert Roy Clark By Christina O'Haver Robert Roy Clark By Christina O'Haver
Robert Roy Clark By Mike Gertzman Robert Roy Clark By Mike Gertzman

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The subject of a nationwide manhunt after two slayings and a string of armed robberies in three states has confessed to killing an elderly couple found inside their torched car, a sheriff said Friday.

Robert Clark, 29, was arrested Thursday in northern Arizona after leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase into a desert. Two companions who had been traveling with him were also captured.

Tuscarawas County Sheriff Walter Wilson said at a news conference that investigators from two Ohio county sheriff's departments traveled to Arizona to meet with Clark. While being questioned late Thursday, Clark acknowledged killing 88-year-old Doyle Chumney and his 79-year-old wife, Lillian, Wilson said.

Clark has waived extradition. "I wouldn't be surprised if he arrives in Ohio within a week ," Wilson said. He declined to discuss a motive for the killings.

It's not immediately clear if Clark has a lawyer.

The remains of the Chumneys were found in their badly burned car Jan. 22, the day after their daughter reported them missing from their home in Strasburg, a village 20 miles south of Canton. The home had been ransacked, authorities have said.

A second suspect, Jeffery Stewart, 21, was arrested Jan. 31 in Ohio. Authorities say Stewart implicated himself and Clark in the slayings. Both men have been charged with a single count of murder. Stewart is being held on $2 million bond. There is no lawyer listed for him in online court records.

Clark and two people from Canton had been targets of a nationwide manhunt after a string of armed robberies of convenience stores last weekend in West Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. Jeffrey Caley Jr., 28, and Tabatha Hazel, 26, are jailed in Arizona. They are suspects in the armed robberies but had no involvement in the Chumney killings, authorities have said.

Wilson said agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will search Clark's van for evidence in Arizona.

Tuscarawas County prosecutor Ryan Styer said at the news conference that Clark and Stewart were not promised anything in exchange for their confessions. It will be up to a grand jury to decide whether charges against Clark and Stewart should carry death penalty specifications, Styer said.

Judicial proceedings for Clark and Stewart will be in Coshocton County, where authorities believe the Chumneys were shot and killed before their car was set ablaze.

Clark was on parole after being released from prison in May after serving 4 1/2 years for robbery and burglary.

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