Willie Clark's mom says prison officials won't tell her where they moved her son
This week's cover story, "Blue in Orange," is about Willie Clark, who was convicted in 2010 of murdering Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams. Clark is now appealing that conviction and is also fighting prison officials in court to get himself out of solitary confinement, where he's been kept for five years.
Willie Clark in 2008.
After our story hit newsstands, we got a call from Clark's mother. She's outraged at how prison officials have treated her son, who she believes is innocent.
"I think they violated him in every way," Yolanda Clark says. "He's passed every program, he's done everything he's required to do, and he's still in the hole." And now, he's in the hole somewhere where she can't easily visit him; in late October, Clark was moved to an undisclosed prison out of state.
His mother suspects it's because her son was convicted of killing a famous football player, a crime she doesn't believe he committed. Like his lawyers, she believes her son was a scapegoat. "I think it was Colorado wanting to have a big conviction," she says.
Yolanda Clark says she attended every day of her son's thirteen-day trial -- and she didn't like what she saw. Many of the people who testified against her son had been arrested in a federal drug trafficking case and then offered deals in exchange for their testimony. For example, Daniel "PT" Harris, considered the prosecution's star witness, was facing a life sentence, but his prison time was reduced to five years thanks to his cooperation. Willie Clark was also arrested in the drug case. But unlike most of the others, he's still in prison.
Yolanda Clark says her son was not a gang member -- and he's definitely not the Tre Tre Crips kingpin that prosecutors and prison officials have made him out to be, she adds. However, when it comes to Willie, his mother says she doesn't "sugarcoat it." She admits that when her son returned to Colorado after spending some time in jail in Texas for a fight (she says the other guy was the aggressor, and a white supremacist), he fell in with the wrong crowd. Willie started hanging out with people he'd known since elementary school, but they were into some rough stuff, she says.
"I used to tell him years back, 'Pick your friends wisely, because they're going to get in some trouble and you're going to be the one that gets it,'" she says.
As far as she knows, Yolanda Clark says her son made his money gambling. "Willie was a gambler," she says. "He'd shoot dice. But I've never seen him selling drugs. I've never seen him with a gun.... He smoked weed a little bit, but he didn't drink at all."
Continue for more of our interview with Yolanda Clark about her son, Willie Clark.