A Ray Of Hope


Bonnie M. Wells


Lookin' For A Cop Killer

Ray Clark was a Washington County {Ohio} Deputy Sheriff who was gunned down on February 7th, 1981 while standing in the kitchen of his own home.

I would like to know who killed our deputy ..... not for my own reasons, but because he was one of our cops. He put his life on the line for us, and I figure the least I can do is ask who murdered the man.

I'd like to live long enough to see his killer arrested and brought to justice.

It's looking rather doubtful .... and that's if I die of old age!

Many Rumors

There have been many rumors about the murder of Deputy Clark. I'm not certain that I believe any of them.

Some say he was investigating drug trafficking and got too close to identifying the "main man" so he was killed. I suppose that's a possibility, but certainly makes the "main man" appear to be high ranking.

Clark was reportedly standing in his kitchen when a blast from a shotgun came through his window and killed him. I've been told they cannot do ballistics on a shotgun.... Not sure I believe this either!

I was told by a former police officer who is now retired, that he knew who killed Deputy Clark, and that the man is now deceased. He insisted that he took finger prints from the deceased man even as he lay in his casket, and that he knows for certain he is the man who killed Clark.

I only have one problem with this former cop's story ..... what finger prints was he trying to match? The killer didn't leave his shotgun behind! Where did he leave prints? And "if" he left finger prints somewhere .... on a window sill or door frame, etc...... then why did law enforcement wait until the man died of natural causes before deciding to name him as the killer?

Neah, the cop's story doesn't hold any weight with me, but it sounded good when he told it.

Made him sound real smart ...... just made me ask more questions.

42 Days Earlier

Personally I have another theory ..... as usual.

My Wild Bill character was arrested the first time in Washington County for indecent exposure on December 26th, 1980.

According to court records the incident involved two girls who were minors at the time, so there are no names of anyone that I have been able to speak with. They are bound to be adults now, and if they ever read this page and want to speak to me, I'd be more than happy to hear their story. Meanwhile, my theory continues.....

The girls obviously either knew Wild Bill or they got his license number because it wasn't very long until he was arrested and jailed for his offense. He told me that he spent 3 days in jail, but another (more reliable) source told me that he spent 30 days in jail but was allowed to do the time during the week ends so he could continue to hold down his job. He wasn't so fortunate in 1994 when he committed the same crime in the same town. That time he didn't get to do week-ends, but sat in jail for a full 60 days, and in the process lost the job that he apparently didn't care much about anyhow.

Wild Bill's arrest occurred 42 days prior to Ray Clark's murder.

Forty-Two Days & Holding

Have Gun - Will Sell

In 1993 Wild Bill discovered that I was interested in some of the "unsolved murder cases" in Washington County, one of which was Deputy Clark's case.

He suddenly decided to sell a shotgun that he'd had since he was twelve years old, and had used for deer hunting year in and year out. He then tried to buy his brother's gun which was exactly like the one he'd just sold! His brother refused to sell the gun to him, and eventually I accompanied him to Wal*Mart and allowed him to purchase a new shotgun on one of my credit cards.

I never understood the man's reasoning for selling his gun and then buying another..... but I understood my reasoning for putting the new one on one of my credit cards.

I tried to question him on the subject and was told that the reason he sold the gun was because "I wouldn't let him go deer hunting anyway so why keep it!"

During the 3 and 1/2 years that I knew this man and thought he was my friend, I helped him dress out 4 deer. He went hunting every year that I knew him, and he always got a deer.

I was washing vegetables from his garden the day I questioned him about the gun and was told his reasoning. His comments shocked me but I didn't argue with him, didn't say anything about the deer he'd shot since I knew him... deer that I could prove he'd shot, because several of my friends had helped us cut and wrap the meat. Hell, the man had even given his attorney a few packages of the deer meat! Man was nuts...

He went back outside that day and I continued to think about his comments. A few minutes went by and he came back into the house and apologized for his comments. He said he had me confused with his ex-wife ..... "It was she who wouldn't allow him to go hunting and that's why he sold the gun!"

I knew better. He sold his shotgun when I started asking questions about murder victims ..... especially Deputy Clark, which was more than two years after his divorce!

I never let on that I saw the error, but I did inform Washington County detectives of the story. Nothing was ever done. He was never questioned about Ray Clark's murder. I continue to wonder who the arresting officer was in December of 1980. I've always suspected it was Ray Clark .... but, that's just a suspicion since all information in this county seems to be a one way, dead-end street.

It can go into the sheriff's department, but nothing ever comes out .....

no action, no answers, no comments, nothing.

Another "Coincidence," I Suppose

Ray Clark had a step daughter. I never knew her .... or him, for that matter. But I learned years ago that his daughter's name was Kathy.

More than fifteen years after the murder of Deputy Clark, Sheree Petry, the business partner of his daughter, was also murdered. That story is told within the Sey Von Sharee story clips at bottom of this page.

A Dead Cop's Wife

Ray Clark was married at the time of his murder. His wife's name is/was Patty. {Patty is also the name of my sister}.

In 1993 I discovered an entry in Wild Bill's diary (which he allowed me to read, so just back off defense attorney's everywhere!) that said he had gone to Marietta, to his mother's place of employment and met a woman named Patty Clark.

I suppose it is possible that he didn't even know Clark's wife's name but had simply met someone with the same name as hers, in the same town she lived in.

I know this happens ..... it happens a lot in this area, and lately I've seen it happening all across our country. I just can't figure out why the vast portion of the "same name" women end up murder victims!!!

That one's really got me puzzled.

Cops Killed In The Line Of Duty

I submitted Deputy Clark's name to a national group who keeps track of cop's killed in the line of duty. So far his name has never been placed on their list.

I have stopped donating to that group. If they have no respect for one of our officers who was murdered in his own home, then I have no money for them.

I might be one lone person out here, and perhaps most of the world doesn't agree with the way I handle things, but you know .... that makes no difference what so ever to me....

Never has ... never will .... because right is right, and wrong is wrong.

Feb. 7, 2005

It has been twenty four years today since Ray Clark was gunned down in his home. There is no talk about his case, and there has never been any action on the case.

We have a new sheriff now. He was elected in November of 2004. I don't know him; don't need to know him. But I am waiting to see if he does any more than the previous sheriff about these unsolved murder cases that the people of this area are forced to live with.

Meanwhile, my cases are not restricted by county lines, state lines or any other type of jurisdictional boundaries. Uncle Sam does not pay me to serve and protect. I am bound by nothing other than integrity and character, and a dedication that few have ever understood, and that I finally got tired of trying to explain.

The cases that are profiled on this web site and within the pages of the Pure Coincidence book series are real cases. The people were once alive. Someone murdered them. And "someone" needs to solve the cases.

If we have a dozen killers roaming our area as former sheriff Robert Schlicher seemed to want me and everyone to believe, then I say that is a damned disgrace, not to mention an embarrassment. How can that many crackpots escape detection and apprehension for so many years? What does this say about local law enforcement? Not a lot, as far as I'm concerned.

If, on the other hand, many of these crimes were committed by the same person, then we have a serial killer in our midst, and we need to be trying to nail his ass before he murders even more people, because he will not stop. Oh, he may ease up in Washington County for awhile, but when he's not trolling for victims here, he's trolling elsewhere. He's never completely idle, and he never gives up.

My own work has indicated that we are in fact dealing with a serial killer, although some of the cases appear to be solved, that formerly appeared to fit into the serial killer pattern. I do not believe that at least 2 of the so called "solved" cases are actually solved, and that number may easily expand to four.

But, discounting all four of those cases, and assuming they are correctly solved, that still leaves some two dozen cases that I firmly believe are connected by a common killer. Twenty four years is too long to wait for an answer. It's time we did something about this situation, and let our authorities know that we want these cases put back on the front burner instead of shelved in some forgotten desk drawer. If they do not have enough "man power" then form some volunteer citizen review panels or citizen task forces to look into the cases.

Clark Connections

It is a well known fact, that serial killers march to a different tune than "normal" people. They work out their own schemes and puzzles, and they fulfill their warped fantasies in ways that normal people would never think of. Many times the victims of serial killers fit into these ideas that only make sense to the killer. Some killers have several "plans" roaming around their heads at any given moment. And so I believe it is with "our" killer. I believe he is on a mission. That mission will not end until he is caught or dies of old age. At this point, I have to admit, it looks as if old age is going to catch him before we do!!

As fas as I can determine, Ray Clark was the first in the "Clark 42 Day" plan. Perhaps it wasn't even a plan at that time. Perhaps it didn't emerge as a plan until the second case. Regardless, there have been at least 2 "Clark" murders and one "Clark" arson, all involving the number "42" in one way or another - and all suspiciously connected to my Wild Bill character.

Ray Clark was murdered 42 days after Wild Bill's first arrest:

Maebelle Clark was murdered 42 days after Wild Bill got out of jail from his second sex-offense arrest:

And the home of P. Clark was torched on January "24," which is a reversal on the 42: [**See the Teresa Butler story on January page: 2011 note - See my 124 Trio]

P. Clark was the former boyfriend of the woman Wild Bill was living with at that time, and she continued to go see P. when Wild Bill was not home. Wild Bill told a woman that he intended to "get rid of P. Clark," and the next thing we knew the apartment the man lived in was burned to the ground.

Mae Belle Clark was a Parkersburg hooker and her story is told elsewhere on this web site, but for here I want to show that she too was connected to Wild Bill. [for Maybelle Clark's story see 'This Bell's Gonna Tell on my August page]

On the night of the 42 day after his release from jail, my friend Sindee and I saw him pick up a woman from a Parkersburg night club and leave town. He returned some three hours later by himself. A few days later Mae Belle Clark was found murdered down around Charleston, West Virginia. It takes about three hours to drive from Parkersburg to Charleston and back to Parkersburg. Mae Belle's case has remained unsolved since 1994.

This story is dedicated to the memory of

Washington County Deputy Ray Clark,

whose case remains unsolved.

Thank you Sir.....for all you done ......all you tried

I pray the day comes ..... when your killer can no longer hide....

Behind a shield ..... of foolish pride.

May he be exposed by the badge ...... of one who died.

2008 News:

Mid January 2008, our local tv station made the following announcement:

WTAP-TV is working on a special series featuring unsolved murders in the Mid-Ohio Valley. We would like your feedback on which three unsolved murders you want our series to focus on.

2009 News:

Many people voted in the above poll, and eventually three cases were selected: One of those cases was Ray Clark.

To see how a psychopath reacts when reminded of one of his crimes, take a look at the following story ......

Judith Petty

2011 News:

Key To Solving Deputy’s Killing Elusive

30-year-old case still active

February 7, 2011 - By Brad Bauer, bbauer@mariettatimes.com

In talking about the case last week, officers stopped just short of naming their suspect in the murder of a Washington County sheriff's deputy who was gunned down in his own home 30 years ago today.

The individuals working the investigation into the death of Lt. Ray "Joe" Clark said the man they believe is his his killer, now 60, is still living in Washington County.

"We have enough right now for an indictment," said Washington County sheriff's cold case Detective Jeff Seevers. "He knows who he is. We know who he is. We've talked to him. We don't want to stop with an indictment, we want a conviction. All it's going to take is that 'one thing,' that little something someone saw, or heard, or we find to put this over the edge."

According to the case file, Clark had been watching an Ohio State University basketball game at his home during the evening of Feb. 7, 1981. During a break in the game, he went into his kitchen to get a snack when someone fired a bullet through a window, striking him in the head.

Police initially theorized the motive for the killing was drug-related. Clark had been working several drug investigations at the time.

But Seevers, who recently came out of retirement to work the county's unsolved homicide cases, said he's convinced the case was not related to drugs, although he declined to elaborate. He also said the case was initially stalled because sketches of a suspect were not at all accurate.

At the time of the shooting, the sheriff's office paid to have a few witnesses hypnotized in hopes of assisting them in providing a graphic description. A resulting composite photo was circulated, but it failed to lead to any solid suspects.

"I don't think anyone ever intentionally gives misinformation, but when it happens, it can really throw a case off," he said.

Without the aid of hypnosis, those same witnesses reported hearing a gunshot and seeing a small blue car leaving the area of Clark's home. Asked if the descriptions given of the car matched up with the suspect, Seevers perked up.

"Oh yes," he said.

Clark left behind a widow, a son and stepdaughter, two siblings and several nieces and nephews. He would now be 79, with three grandsons.

Two years ago, Clark's nephew, Washington County sheriff's Lt. David Huffer retired after working more than 20 years with the agency. He said leaving the office was difficult knowing the man responsible for bringing so much pain to his family and department was still free.

"I do believe someone knows something and for whatever reason they will come forward and give us that one piece that this investigation needs," he said.

Because of his relationship to Clark, Huffer was never able to investigate his uncle's death. Still, he kept tabs on the investigation and still checks in often with the detectives who are still trying to piece it together.

"This is something the family still talks about and wants to put to rest," he said.


I'm glad our sheriff hired Jeff Seevers out of retirement to re-investigate some of these old cases that have lay here for so many years with no one looking at them -- well, almost no one.

Maybe Seevers can pull the information together and actually get something done this time around.

All I know for sure is - my information will remain posted on this web site until I see someone arrested for our deputy's murder. And, if that arrest doesn't match the crime any better than some of the others in this area have matched the crime, I will leave my information posted until hell freezes over, because I can take no pride in a conviction {or a confession} in which the information does not match the crime. We've already seen way too much of that.

Obviously 'my suspect' is NOT the person that is being hailed as 'their suspect,' because the details just don't match.

Granted, my suspect still lives here, but he isn't sixty years old, so that pretty much eliminates him from their consideration. It does nothing for him as far as I am concerned.

I realize my information is circumstantial, but as I once heard a former federal prosecuting attorney say -- "Circumstantial evidence is some of the best evidence you can have because circumstances don't lie."


Bonnie M. Wells

Connected Cases (still unsolved as of Feb. 2015)

Maebelle Clark

Judith Petty {Feb. 7}

Law & Order-In The News

February Story Selection Page

Forty-Two Days & Holding

In The News

Unsolved Murder - Joe Clark

Feb 25, 2008

Throughout the past few decades, we've seen our share crime in the mid-Ohio Valley. Though most are solved, there are cases that still have detectives searching for answers. February on WTAP News, we are taking a new look at cold cases.

The oldest of the three cases happened in 1981. Ray Clark, known by most as Joe, was shot through his kitchen window in his Washington County home.

The case hit the Sheriff's department hard and today they are closer to cracking it than ever before.

"We've identified a pretty credible suspect in this investigation. The reason we haven't identified this person is because we don't have the evidence," said Det. Jeff Seevers.

It may not be the mysterious case it once was, but for Joe Clark's family, it's still the same agonizing uncertainty that it was 27 years ago.

"It's something we've learned to live with, but it's never really off our minds. Every time we're together, that's what we're talking about," said Patricia Huffer, Joe's sister.

February 7th 1981, Joe Clark was doing something many people in the area were doing that night: watching the Ohio State basketball game on TV at his Dodds Run house. He went into the kitchen to get a snack.

"I turned around to go out and I saw this flash of light. I thought maybe something went wrong with the refrigerator. I didn't think about a shot," said Patricia Clark, Joe's wife.

It was the doctors at the hospital that discovered that Joe was shot in the head and prompted the Sheriff's department to start investigating who killed one of their own.

The case went cold for more than 2 decades until Det. Jeff Severs and Lieutenant Mark Warden decided to take another crack at it in 2003. This time they got a lot closer than before.

"It wouldn't do any good to indict this person and lose it. We want to make sure we have enough to indict this person and prosecute them," said Seevers.

Seevers believes the suspect parked his blue 1973 pinto station wagon on Cole Coffman Road, right up the hill from Clark's house. He believes the suspect waited for his opportunity to descend on the home.

Theories circulated at the time. The morning of the murder, Joe was quoted in the newspaper about a drug investigation he was working on. Today, detectives say they believe the crime was work-related, but had nothing to do with drugs.

"This person had the opportunity, was in the area and he had a motive," said Seevers.

Detectives say in 1981, the suspect was a white male in his 30's or 40's. Today, he's somewhere near his 60's

"We've talked to this person and he knows who he is," said Seevers.

If you have any information about this case, no matter how small you may think it is, the Washington County Sheriff's Department is asking you to call them at (740) 376-7070.

2014’s top story: Arrest in deputy’s ’81 shooting death

December 31, 2014 // By Sam Shawver - The Marietta Times

The arrest of a former Washington County deputy for the alleged 1981 slaying of fellow deputy Ray "Joe" Clark drew a lot of attention in September.

"It was a tremendous joint effort among a number of agencies and individuals who had been working for a long time on this case," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

He noted the arrest came 33 years, seven months and nine days after Clark's killing.

"The people who worked hardest on this case were sheriff's Lt. Jeff Seevers, deputy Bruce Schuck and detective Jon Jenkins (with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation)," Mincks said, noting all three were part of a cold case unit that investigated the decades-old murder.

"They started working intensely on the case four years ago-we really wanted this case solved," he added.

Fact Box

Clark case arrest

Mitchell Ruble, 63, of Lowell, was arrested Sept. 16 and charged with the 1981 murder of Washington County Deputy Ray "Joe" Clark.

Clark was shot while in the kitchen of his home on Dodd's Run Road on the evening of Feb. 7, 1981.

Investigators believe Clark's death was a revenge killing by Ruble, a former Washington County deputy who was dismissed from duty in 1979 after Clark cited Ruble for inappropriate conduct.

Ruble is currently being held in the Washington County Jail on $2.5 million bond.

A trial date for Ruble has been scheduled on May 4.

Source: Times research.

Seevers said it was a relief to be able to finally break the case, not only for the cold case investigators, but for the officers who had known Clark and also worked on the case for so many years.

"They were very glad that an arrest was finally made," he said. "(Chief Deputy) Mark Warden and I started working on this back in 2003 and 2004. We were very focused, and after the first year or so of finding new leads we started to get sort of an adrenaline rush."

Seevers said it takes some commitment to keep working on a case that's more than 33 years old, but the cold case team never let up, which finally led to Ruble's arrest.

According to the facts of the case, on the night of his murder, Clark was in his home on Dodd's Run Road, watching an Ohio State University basketball game. He had gone into the kitchen for a snack when a shotgun blast was fired through the window and struck the deputy in the head.

Mincks said investigators believed the murder was a revenge killing and Ruble was a prime suspect because he was dismissed from the sheriff's department in 1979 after a report issued by Clark cited Ruble for "inappropriate conduct while on duty."

The reason for that charge has not been released, but it reportedly involved Ruble's alleged mistreatment of a suspect he had arrested around that time.

After his dismissal Ruble went on to serve 25 years as a correctional officer at the Noble County Correctional Institute near Caldwell.

An investigation of Ruble's residence in the days following his September arrest resulted in the confiscation of at least 80 weapons, including a machine gun, 23 grenade fuses and thousands of rounds of ammunition that were stored on the property.

At one point a Columbus-based bomb squad was called in to help dispose of some explosive materials found at the site.

At the request of Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider, the Ohio Attorney General's Office appointed Assistant Attorney Generals Joel King and Daniel Breyer to handle prosecution of the case. Schneider said his own office was short-staffed and would not be able to handle the Clark case in a timely manner.

Last week King announced that Ruble's trial, originally slated for February, had been rescheduled during a pre-trial hearing via telephone last week, according to Jill Del Greco, spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

"The trial was initially scheduled on Feb. 2, but it's now been moved to May 4," she said. "That basically gives the prosecutors time to fully prepare for the trial. And the investigation of the case is continuing."

2016 Update:

After a second trial, Mitch Ruble was convicted of the murder of Deputy Ray Clark in March of 2016.

The conviction means nothing to me. It changes none of my information.

There were still 42 days between the arrest of Wild Bill and the murder of Ray Clark.

Wild Bill still sold his shotgun to a man named Petty when he found out I was asking questions about the Ray Clark murder case.

There are still 13 and 1/2 years between the murder of Ray Clark and the murder of Mae Clark, which occurred 42 days after Wild Bill got out of jail on his second sex offense.

There are still 13 and 1/2 years between the murder of Mae Clark and the murder of Judith Petty on the anniversary of Ray Clark's murder.

I made none of this up. It is not my imagination, and whatever anyone decides to do with it or how they look at it is of no concern to me whatsoever. After 25 years of trying to stop a damned killer, I have come to the point that if no one else cares, then why should I? It doesn't affect my work in the least. The title of my book series is Pure Coincidence, so, I win either way folks. I have uncovered the largest number of coincidences in recorded history... all centering around one INNOCENT man!!! Yeah, right.

Another note before leaving this page.

Back in the 1990's I was semi-friends with a woman who lived in the Marietta area. I had known her for more than 20 years and had seen many, many despicable things that she had done. She was actually no ones friend and couldn't be trusted as far as she could be seen.

This woman told me that Mitch Ruble was a close (intimate) friend of hers and that he had come to her home one evening and asked if she could hide a gun for him. He said the gun had been used in a crime and he didn't want to get caught with it. She took the gun and hid it for him! PS: The gun was a pistol .. not a shotgun like Clark was killed with.

Time went by and this woman eventually conned her way into the life of a judge and was actually able to get him to marry her.

She said the former sheriff interrogated her about Mitch Ruble and she wanted to know how he got the information he had about a gun. I could have told her .... but I didn't.

I had reported the information to Detective John Winstanley, whom I am certain turned it over to the sheriff.

All of my information was reported to the sheriff's department back in those naive days.

Well, to make a long story short, the woman is dead, the judge is dead and Winstanley is dead ..... and then, and only then, did the murder case of Ray Clark become so important. It laid for 34 years and came to court with no more evidence than it had 34 years earlier. The only difference was a man, supposedly a friend of Ruble's was given a guarantee of no prosecution for testifying that he was with Ruble the night he killed Clark and in fact had driven the get away car. Never mind the fact that he was an accomplice. Never mind the fact that the vehicle that Ruble owned didn't fit the description of the vehicle seen, none of that mattered, and just like in the McCrady case, they got their conviction. Congratulations.

PS: If I was Randy Slider I'd leave this country NOW. It's been 24 years since Patsy Sparks was murdered. The drunks and the drug addicts have long since forgotten what they said in the beginning. They have had hallucinations and imaginations that have tangled with actual memories to the point that they don't know which is which anymore.

But, there is one person out here who doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, and never forgets. That person went in ahead of everyone on the Sparks case and documented it all. Most of it is up on this web site and has been all along. It will remain because I get very suspicious when the story starts to change.

Maebelle Clark

Judith Petty {Feb. 7}

Starlight Inner-Prizes.com

Bonnie M. Wells

This page last updated: February 9, 2015 / April 2016 / BMW