The Investigators: Chilling body camera video shows rare insight to domestic violence

The Investigators: Chilling body camera video shows rare insight to domestic violence
Source: Livonia Police Department
Source: Livonia Police Department
Sam Clark Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
Sam Clark Jr. (Source: St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office)
Kimberly Perkins (Source: WAFB)
Kimberly Perkins (Source: WAFB)

LIVONIA, LA (WAFB) - Two police officers saw the writing on the wall when they responded to a domestic violence call last year. This year, that woman was found dead.

That domestic violence call was Oct. 1st, 2015 from a home in Livonia in Pointe Coupee Parish around 8:15 p.m. made by Sam Clark Jr. because of his wife, Kimberley Nicole Perkins.

Dispatch: "911, where's your emergency?"
Clark: "Uh, I need somebody to come to 8600 Chauvin Lane as soon as possible. She has money in her pocket, which she's not supposed to have. I got $500 missing out of my cabinet. Okay? And I want to find out what's going on."

March 2016, Kim's body was found dumped in a bayou in St. Landry Parish. An autopsy revealed she had been shot twice in the head. Her husband allegedly confessed to the killing claiming she was trying to leave him.

While Clark was on the phone with 911, his wife was trying to leave with the children.

Clark: "You're not leaving! You're not leaving! Kim, don't leave this house! Kim, don't leave this house because you know you're doing wrong."
Dispatch: "Okay, what's your name sir?"
Clark: "My name is Sam Clark and she's walking out of the house with my baby."

Lt. Aaron Biddy with the Livonia Police Department was one of the responding officers.

Lt. Biddy: "Something just ate at me."
Kiran: "What ate at you?"
Lt. Biddy: "She was a piece of property to him. It didn't matter. He wanted what he wanted and nothing she wanted mattered."

What happened that night was caught on another responding officer, Sgt. John Thibodaux's body camera.

"I want her drug tested and I want to find out what the hell is going on. I want to find out where my money is going," said Clark talking to 911, caught on the officer's body camera video.

When Sgt. Thibodaux spoke to Kim privately, she told him, "He grabbed me around my throat and choked me and twisted my leg to where it almost broke,
I'm telling you."

Kim told officers she did not have a key to the gun cabinet. There was only one key and he kept it.

Clark: "I just want to find out where the $10 come from and the cigarettes. That's all I want to do."
Officer: "What's wrong you don't...."
Kim: "No he doesn't let..."
Officer: "STOP! NOW! What's wrong? You don't let her have no money? She can't have no money?"
Clark: "She can have money anytime she wants."
Officer: "Then why you worried where her $10 come from?"
Clark: "Because I want to know. I have $500 missing out of my house."

But both officers told Clark, "You cannot force her to go take a drug test because you're married to her. That don't work like that. You cannot control a woman like you're trying to do right here," said Lt. Biddy.

When everyone went inside the house, Sgt. Thibodaux pulled Kim aside and she spoke out about past incidents, including what she said happened the night before.

"He put a gun to my head the other night. I'm not going to say anything about that but he put a loaded gun to my head and threatened to shoot me and you know what? I wasn't scared. I was ready for it to happen," said Kim.

Officers repeatedly asked if she wanted to pursue charges. She said no, but visible marks on her neck from him allegedly choking her, gave them enough reason to take it upon themselves to arrest him for domestic violence.

"Louisiana law allows an officer to take the steps to protect the victim in these cases," said Lt. Biddy

Officer: "It's pretty obvious she was grabbed around the throat."
Clark: "It is a f*** hickie. It's two of them, one on the back of her neck and another on the front of her neck."
Officer: "Okay what about the other day when you put a gun to her head?"
Clark: "I ain't put no f*** gun to her head."

Clark was arrested and charged with domestic abuse battery by strangulation and aggravated assault with a firearm. But because this was a domestic violence case, a bond could not be set without a Gwen's Law hearing. At that hearing however, Kim, perhaps out of fear, changed her story and said she wanted Clark to be free. His bond was set only at $5,000 and the charges were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

Perhaps the most chilling part of the officer and Kim's conversation....

Officer: "Do you want to be on the news, a statistic, meaning another domestic female gets killed because she feared to leave? Is that what you want?"
Kim: "No."
Officer: "Because honestly, this is where it's going."

"You get these cases. You work them over the years and you hope for the best. You never hear anything about it and this one slaps you back in the face 6-8 months later and of course she is dead," said Lt. Biddy.

Kim lived in fear. The proof was her last post on Facebook the night before her body was found that read "If I die, say Sam Jr." -- her husband.

Lt. Biddy did just that, called the St. Landry detective saying they needed to go question her husband.

Unfortunately, Kim has become another domestic violence statistic and a typical case of living in fear and too scared to speak up at her own Gwen's Law hearing that could have kept her husband behind bars without bond.

"You can't stand in open court and look at someone you're afraid of and worry about what's going to happen and tell the truth," said Lt. Biddy.

Which is why many law enforcement officials say the Gwen's Law is a great tool but needs some tweaking to provide victims like Kim even more protection.

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