America's Insane Love Affair with Criminals Continues as a Drunkard Who Sliced Open Scatt with a Box Cutter Gets Off with Time on the Water Wagon
"I very, very much regret what happened that night. I am not that kind of person."
-- Tracy A. Clark
"Six assaults against people and now this against a cat and you're up here trying to tell me you're not that kind of a person?"
-- Judge Michael C. Hayden
Writers as diverse as Aristophanes, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens have long decried the perverse workings of the law. The long awaited July 17th trial of Tracy A. Clark in King County Superior Court in Seattle for his unprovoked and savage attack upon a homeless shelter therapy cat named Scatt provided yet another poignant example of a judge and a prosecutor who, like the Epicurean gods, surely must reside in the intermundia because they behave as if they were completely divorced from objective reality. (See photo above of the defendant.)
Back on April 19th while he was staying at a homeless shelter run by Cross Church in south Seattle, Clark grabbed Scatt by the throat and used a box cutter in order to open up an eight-inch gash that stretched from the cat's collarbone to his tail. The drunken brute next flung the defenseless moggy against a wall and in the process broke three of his ribs. (See photo below of Scatt and his horrific injuries.)
Scatt later was discovered bleeding and near death in the church's parking lot by shelter employee Michael Stinnette who rushed him to South Seattle Veterinary Hospital where physicians somehow were able to save his life. He was discharged from the facility on April 28th and at last report was still living at the home of Pastor Jerry Wilson and his wife, Jennifer.
Not contented with simply committing this heinous assault, Clark decided to share his devilry with a fellow inmate at the shelter and this is what ultimately led to his undoing. To his credit, the fellow lodger ratted out Clark and as the result officers from the King County Sheriff's Department were able to arrest him the following day.
"A cat has been hurt so horribly, I can't even look at the wounds," a deputy called in to investigate this disturbing case later told Pasado's Safe Haven of nearby Sultan. (See Cat Defender post of May 6, 2009 entitled "Resident at a Church-Run Homeless Shelter Uses a Box Cutter in Order to Gut Scatt from Collarbone to Tail.")
On April 22nd, prosecutors charged Clark with one count of first degree animal cruelty. At first he ludicrously claimed that he had gutted Scatt in self-defense but on June 29th he abruptly changed his tune and pled guilty.
Like the Jekyll and Hyde character that he is, the forty-eight-year-old drifter from Vancouver, Washington, put on a charm offensive for the benefit of Judge Michael C. Hayden. "I very, very much regret what happened that night. I am not that kind of person," he is quoted as having told the judge by KOMO-TV of Seattle on July 17th. (See "Man Who Slit Open Church Cat Gets Nine Months.") "I apologize to the court. I apologize to Scatt very much. I mean that from my heart."
At first Hayden appeared not to have been taken in by Clark's feigned remorse. "Six assaults against people and now this against a cat and you're up here trying to tell me you're not that kind of person." he shot back. "(How) would you explain your six prior assaults on people?"
"Drinking," was the defendant's one-word reply according to the July 17th edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. (See "Man Gets Nine Months for Stabbing Church Therapy Cat.")
"You are using alcohol as an excuse," Hayden chastised him. "You're the one who drinks the alcohol, you're the one who beats up people when you're drinking alcohol, and now you just happen to have done it to a cat."
From his tough talk it initially appeared that Hayden is a judge who cares about cats and takes crimes committed against them seriously. Sadly, that ultimately proved not to be the case as his whirlwind of rhetoric about justice quickly blew itself out into a pip-squeak fart of injustice.
Instead of locking up this serial violent offender for the remainder of his days, Hayden sentenced him to spend his nights in jail for the next nine months. He is to spend his days drying out at the King County Community Center for Alternative Programs. (See photo below of Clark and his attorney, Aimee Sutton, standing before Hayden.)
Press reports are silent on the matter, but he additionally could be eligible to receive time off for good behavior and as a result be out of jail fairly soon. Moreover, he apparently was not placed on either probation or required to perform any community service.
Perhaps most startling of all, Hayden refused to hold him accountable for Scatt's not insubstantial medical bills which are currently being paid by Pasado's. Since Clark drinks like a bleeding fish all the time and sometimes does illicit drugs, he obviously is getting money from somewhere and therefore should have been required to have made restitution.
As things now stand it certainly appears that Clark's only real punishment was the nearly three months that he spent in the can while awaiting trial and that was necessitated solely because of his inability to make bail. If he had been able to have posted ten per cent of the $50,000 bond under which he was being held, he would have gotten away scot-free.
It additionally is acutely disturbing that Hayden apparently did not express one iota of concern for Scatt who nearly had his life taken away from him and still faces months of painful recuperation. Au contraire, all of his compassion and concern were lavished on Clark.
It is highly unlikely that Hayden would still be sitting on the bench if Clark's victim had been a man or a woman. After all, any legitimate judicial system should save its compassion for the victims of violent crime, whether they be animals, humans, or the environment, and not reward miscreants like Clark.
The prosecution's handling of this case was every bit as disgraceful as Hayden's ludicrous ruling. For starters, prosecutor Craig Peterson demonstrated from the outset how little he values feline life by seeking only a nine-month sentence.
In spite of that, he had the unmitigated chutzpah to tell the Seattle Post-Intelligencer afterwards that he hoped that the slap-on-the-wrists Clark had received would deter others from abusing defenseless animals. If anything, both his and Hayden's handiwork serve as a green light to cat-haters all over Seattle that they can commit their dastardly deeds with impunity. (See photo below of Peterson with Clark as he is being led back to jail after sentencing.)
Even the management of Pasado's was left giddy by the decision. "Scatt Gets Justice! Tracy Clark Gets Nine Months," it proclaimed July 17th on its web site. "Judge Hayden wasn't fooled by Tracy Clark's insincere claim of regretting his actions."
There are only two possible explanations for non sequiturs of that sort. Either officials of Pasado's have a very underdeveloped sense of justice or they have been in Clark's hooch.
The organization's operations manager, Brendan Brannen, struck a much more sober tone when he was interviewed by KOMO-TV. "He (Clark) had six priors for violence and then he's put in there for nine months. No, it doesn't fit the crime but at least it does show that you will get punished," he stated in a video accompanying the article cited supra.
Other than issuing those contradictory statements, Pasado's limited its involvement in the trial to photographing Clark and thanking Peterson for his lackluster effort. Nonetheless, that was considerably more support than Scatt received from the good Christians at Cross Church who did not even bother to either attend the proceedings or to testify on his behalf.
More than likely their dereliction of responsibility can be explained by their financial interest in Clark. His shyster, Aimee Sutton, rendered a certain amount of credence to this view when she told The Seattle Times on July 18th that the church had invited Clark to return to its shelter so long as he apologized to Scatt. (See "Man Sentenced to Nine Months for Stabbing 'Therapy Cat'.")
While it is not known where Cross Church gets its moola, many church-run shelters are funded by the government. C'est-a-dire, the politicians and bureaucrats pay them a bounty for every homeless person that they drag off the streets and lock up for the night.
In fact, these moneygrubbing followers of Christ often can be spotted prowling such familiar haunts of the dispossessed as bus and train depots in search of their next victims. The entire shelter system is a big racket and this is proven by the petit fait that the genuinely needy are lumped in under the same roof with criminals, drunkards, dope addicts, and mental patients.
Assaults, thefts, communicable diseases, and nightly raids by the police are de rigueur. Consequently, most halfway decent individuals avoid these hellholes like the plague and instead choose to rough it either in the woods, on the street, or on buses and trains.
The fraudulent nature of this despicable system is further demonstrated by the fact that very few inmates ever graduate to either permanent abodes or jobs. Shelters are thus ends in themselves and that is why Cross Church so desperately wants Clark to return to the fold; he is one of their meal tickets.
The lone dissenting voice belongs to the church's Antonio Evans who told The Seattle Times on June 30th that he was afraid Clark would return one day and finish off Scatt for good. (See "Man Pleads Guilty to Stabbing Church's Therapy Cat.")
Fortunately, the Wilsons have not announced any intention of returning Scatt to the church although they have rebuffed Pasado's offer to secure a permanent home for him. Hopefully, they will give him the medical treatment, security, and love that he so richly deserves.
It is nevertheless imperative that Pasado's remain vigilant because Christians cannot be trusted to keep their word anymore than nonbelievers. (See Cat Defender posts of July 30, 2009 and February 12, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Ferals Living at a Baltimore Church Find Out the Hard Way That Hatred of Cats is Every Bit as Christian as Unleavened Bread and Cheap Wine" and "God-Fearing Baptists at Eastern University Kill Off Their Feral Cats on the Sly while Students Are Away on Christmas Break.")
As long as Cross Church continues its disastrous policy of giving shelter to criminals, drunkards, dope addicts, and mental patients, no cat is going to be safe on the premises. Moreover, the church should be lending a helping hand to the genuinely needy instead of squandering precious resources on habitual losers.
Even more alarming, it is highly unlikely that society has heard the last of Clark. Once he gets out of jail, he is sooner or later going to get in his cups and commit more violent offenses against both cats and individuals.
Besides, since there is nothing more aggravating to an already parched palate than to be lectured day in and day out about the evils of drink, the time that he spends in rehab could actually end up exacerbating his drinking problem. Es ertrinken mehr im Glas als in allen Waessern.
Consequently, the next time that he commits a violent offense the victim's blood is going to be all over Hayden's and Peterson's hands. Not only have they failed to provide justice for Scatt but to protect society as well.
As Barbara Ehrenreich pointed out in the August 9th edition of The New York Times, it is ridiculous for society to imprison nonviolent offenders for such petty offenses as sleeping in the street, littering, jaywalking, panhandling, and refusing to pay their bus and rail fares. (See "Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor?") She neglected to add, however, that it is every bit as crazy not to permanently jail repeat violent offenders.
Photos: KOMO-TV (Clark with officers), Pasado's Safe Haven (Scatt and Clark and Sutton before Hayden), and Casey McNerthway of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Clark and Peterson with officers).e