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Clark gets 12 for knife assault

FARMINGTON — A man was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for assaulting three people with a knife.

Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Rupp asked Circuit Court Judge Sandy Martinez to sentence Jermazio Clark to 17 years in prison. Clark, 26, of Potosi, had pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree assault and three counts of armed criminal action.

Clark’s public defender, Joshua Hedgecorth, asked the judge to consider three years or 10 years in prison instead of the sentence Rupp was asking for.

According to court records, Clark and three men got into a fight at a gas station in Potosi. During the fight, Clark cut two men and a woman with a box knife.

One victim testified he saw Clark grab the victim’s nephew near the ATM. The victim’s brother then went up to Clark and began to argue. The victim testified he jumped between them and pushed them both, causing Clark to fall down.

After that, Clark lunged at the victim’s nephew and they began to fight. They then all got in the car to leave. Clark reached in the car and stabbed the woman who was with them across the chest and arm.

The victim said he got out of the car and kicked Clark as Clark lunged at him with the knife. He was cut in the face from his ear to his chin. His brother was cut in the arm and head.

They left and drove to the hospital for treatment. He said he has to sport a beard now to cover part of his scar and his wife will only wear long sleeves. She is scared and doesn’t like leaving home.

A man who said he witnessed the dispute testified for Clark. According to his testimony, it looked like three white men beating up Clark, a black man.

Rupp said this had nothing to do with racism. Clark committed an extremely violent crime, attacking three people, one of whom was a completely innocent woman who was just trying to get away, the prosecuting attorney said. Clark took a pushing match and made it into a life-threatening situation.

“It’s amazing no one was killed,” Rupp said.

Hedgecorth, however, argued that the prosecution wouldn’t allow them to see surveillance video that could have helped Clark’s defense. He said his client was wrong and has expressed remorse. The man doesn’t have prior convictions but does have mental health issues, he added.

“He’s begging the court for mercy,” Hedgecorth said.

Clark will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is considered for parole.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at

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