September 13, 1996 in City

Man Admits To Killing Pleads Guilty To Strangling

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane prostitute in 1987 Nine years after the crime, Robert Michael Clark admits to strangling a Spokane prostitute.

Clark pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder in Spokane County Superior Court.

When he is sentenced Nov. 7, he faces 15 years in prison.

In April 1987, Rochelle English’s body was found at a friend’s apartment near downtown. Until last winter, police were baffled.

In January, Spokane County sheriff’s deputies matched a fingerprint lifted off a beer can found at the murder scene with Clark’s. At least one prior attempt to find a match had failed.

Clark, 59, had been living in California, but was brought to Grant County earlier this year for violating probation on a forgery conviction.

When questioned by Spokane police detectives, Clark admitted fighting with English but said he didn’t know he killed her.

“He was genuinely surprised when he found out,” said Doug Boe, the public defender who represents Clark.

Clark told police the 22-year-old prostitute pulled a knife on him when he refused to pay $200 for sex, and they fought in the apartment.

She died from a piece of cloth wrapped around her neck, police said. She was also stabbed in the chest.

Clark previously maintained that the killing occurred in self-defense. He decided to plead guilty rather than risk being convicted of premeditated first-degree murder.

At the time of the killing, Clark was living in Grant County, working at a fast-food restaurant.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo


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