JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Three people charged with the murder of an 86-year-old veteran from Neptune Beach learned their fates Tuesday after a judge announced their sentencing.
Ray Jones and Doug Cercy, who admitted to kidnapping and slitting the throat of veteran Melvin Clark, were sentenced to life in prison. A third suspect, Jennifer Schulte, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
All three were charged with murder, kidnapping and armed robbery.
Clark was a veteran of two branches of the military, a beloved grandfather and an adventurer who went river rafting into his mid-70s.
But on April 8, 2017, Jones and Cercy kidnapped him and forced him to drive to a bank where he withdrew $200.
Jones and Cercy ambushed Clark after he met with Schulte, whom Clark initially made contact with online.
They then drove him to a remote hunting road, cut his throat and left him for dead. Clark pulled himself out of a water-filled ditch and onto the side of the road before he was spotted. He died three months later as a result of his injuries.
According to our media partners at the Florida Times-Union, Clark's wife reported him missing to Neptune Beach police when he did not return from running errands.
Clark’s stolen Honda CRV was located the next day in Miami-Dade County and an April 10 tip led police to arrest Cercy, Schulte and Jones the following evening.
Jones, Cercy and Schulte each have 30 days to appeal their sentences.