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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Clark Bedsole Murder-For-Hire Case

      Helen Bedsole filed for divorce, for the first time, in 1985. The working mother of two teenage children felt she had suffered enough. Clark Bedole, the owner of an electrical contracting company in Deep Creek, Virginia, had been a lousy husband. He abused Helen physically, spent a lot of money on cocaine, ran around with other women, and tried to control every aspect of his wife's life. Concerned about the financial cost of a divorce, Clark talked Helen out of it, and promised to be a better husband.

     Six years later, Helen tried once again to get out of the marriage, this time with determination, and a more aggressive attorney who demanded 50 percent of the marital estate. Infuriated by what he considered his wife's attempt to ruin him financially, Clark Bedsole hired an equally aggressive attorney. The battle had begun.

     On November 9, 1993, one week before getting her divorce, and the settlement she had fought for over the past 18 months, someone broke into Helen Bedsole's house in Geneva Shores, Virginia and shot her to death.

     Helen had been living her in Geneva Shores home just a few days when her new housemate, Gerry Jones, arrived at the dwelling with a truck load of furniture. She found the front door broken open, and Helen dead on the kitchen floor. Dead about three hours, Helen had been shot in the head, at close range, with a .380-caliber handgun. The motive hadn't been theft because the killer didn't take anything from the house.

     Detectives, once they learned of the marital discord, and the pending divorce, considered Clark Bedole their prime suspect. His gain from Helen's death, besides saving the cost of a divorce settlement, included a $132,000 life insurance benefit. Since Clark had an airtight alibi, detectives investigated the case as a contract murder, and began looking for the hitman.

     Homicide investigators caught a break in 1994 when an anonymous caller reported that during a night of sex and cocaine with Clark Bedsole, he told her that he had paid his drug supplier, DeWayne Williams, $4,000 to murder his wife. Williams, a construction worker, was already a suspect in the case. Bedole's son had seen the 21-year-old conferring with his father just before, and after, his mother's murder.

     A police informant wearing a hidden audio recorder got Williams to talk about the murder. In their conversation, Williams revealed how he had ridden a bicycle to Helen's new house in Geneva Shores. He ditched the bike in the woods, broke off the door knob, and entered the dwelling. The intruder found Helen in the kitchen where he shot her twice with a .380-caliber Colt revolver. After the murder, Williams fled the scene on foot. Later that evening, Mr Bedsole paid him $4,000 for the job.

     Detectives took DeWayne Williams into custody in November 1994 when he showed up for work at a construction site in Norfolk. The following day, the police arrested Clark Bedsole. Both men were charged with capital murder, and held in lieu of $1 million bail. Williams and Bedsole claimed they were innocent.

     In May 1995, Clark Bedsole went on trial for masterminding his wife's murder. He took the stand on his own behalf, and while admitting that he had used cocaine, and had abused his wife, denied any involvement in her death. The jury, after deliberating less than three hours, found him guilty. Two months later, the hitman, DeWayne Williams, pleaded guilty to murdering Helen Bedsole for the money.

     The judge sentenced Clark Bedsole to a prison term that included the possibility of parole after 2016. (A relatively light sentence for a murder for hire mastermind.) DeWayne Williams, on the other hand, was sentenced to death. On August 18, 1999, Williams received his lethal injection. Shortly before his passing, a reporter asked Williams if he had given much thought to the woman he had murdered in cold blood. "I thought about  how I could have gotten away with it," he said. DeWayne Williams, a true sociopath to the very end.  


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