published Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Tunnel Hill woman accused of drugging husband's vodka

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Police say a Tunnel Hill, Ga., woman tried to kill her husband with help from her boyfriend and a drink spiked with pain pills.

According to a Catoosa County incident report and an arrest warrant affidavit, 55-year-old Royal Wayne Hall mixed a concoction of orange juice, vodka, hydrocodone and oxycodone on July 7. He then gave the drink to Holly Allison Clark, and she gave it to her husband, Melvin Alton Clark.

Melvin Clark, 45, later told the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office he sipped the drink three times. He doesn't remember what happened next. But apparently, he and his wife drove to a store, and there Holly Clark called the police and told them that Melvin was driving drunk.

According to the incident report, an officer recognized that Melvin Clark was not, in fact, drunk. The officer called for an ambulance.

On Monday, the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office arrested Hall, of Dalton, Ga., and Holly Clark on charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and attempted murder. Holly Clark, 41, of 377 Mine Road, also was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Hall and Holly Clark remained in the Catoosa County Jail on Tuesday afternoon. Officers are holding Hall without bond, and they're holding Holly Clark in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

If anyone planned to kill Melvin Clark, said Paul Smith, a pharmacist at Access Family Pharmacy, hydrocodone and oxycodone was an odd choice.

"It would take an awful lot of that drink to kill somebody," he said. "But you could definitely have some unwanted side effects."

The drugs in question can cause someone to become sick, drowsy, dizzy or constipated. And, in heavy doses, hydrocodone and oxycodone might cause hallucinations and mood changes. But that, Smith said, probably would require a full tablet of both drugs, and oxycodone tablets are so big that you probably can't get a full pill to dissolve into a drink.

And even if you did, death is not likely, he said.

"The state is overreaching, but that is a modern strategy of prosecutions," said Holly Clark's attorney, McCracken Poston. "The truth will come out. Until then, Melvin Clark loves his wife and supports her in her defenses and is currently working to get her out of jail."

Melvin and Holly Clark got married in 1992. But on July 10, three days after she allegedly tried to kill him, Holly filed for divorce. She said that the marriage was "irretrievably broken," that her husband treated her cruelly and that he was often drunk.

In the court filing, Holly Clark asked for alimony, custody of the couple's three children and child support. That same day, Catoosa County Superior Court Judge Ralph Van Pelt ordered that she get possession of the three children, the house, a Cadillac CTS, a Buick LeSabre, a Toyota Four Runner and all of the family's guns.

In his response, filed Aug. 1, Melvin Clark requested custody of the children and child support. He also accused Holly Clark of cheating on him.

On Tuesday afternoon, he declined to comment.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or at tjett@timesfreepress.com.

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