Antonio Terry (Photo: Little Rock Police Department)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas State Claims Commission said one family is entitled to $1.5 million for a murder DHS could have prevented.
The Arkansas State Claims Commission said $1.5 million is due to the family of Maurice "Beau" Clark, Jr., for pain, suffering and mental anguish after the 67-year-old's wrongful death.
"Our whole world just shattered right then and right there," said Trey Clark.
On June 30, 2009, Clark received news he never imagined he would hear. His father, Maurice, was robbed and shot inside his Little Rock home.
"He was the center of our whole family, and you know everybody loves their dad, but he was something else. We love him, miss him," said Clark.
Police arrested Antonio Terry along with three others; Terry took a plea deal and is now serving a 65-year sentence for first-degree murder. Through the course of Terry's trial, Clark said the family learned their father's death could have been prevented.
"I don't know how you could do that to a family or to even the kid that killed my dad.
He's in prison for 65 years. I say it all the time. They [The Department of Human Services] failed him too," explained Clark.
According to the Arkansas State Claims Commission, Terry had been released from Division of Youth Services just two months earlier after a judge recommended he have 'substantial rehabilitation and a long term DYS commitment.'"
"There had been some really horrible decisions that were made that allowed Antonio Terry to be released in the first place over the objections of the treatment team," said Attorney David H. Williams, who took on the case on behalf of the Clark family.
On Wednesday, the claims commission found DHS liable and awarded Clark's family $1.5 million.
"That was the basis of the decision, that they wanted to save a little bit of money over Antonio Terry's bed, and somebody is dead as a result of that. Paying $1.5 million for what Mr. Clark went through, I think that's very reasonable," said Williams.
But, Clark said money doesn't heal all wounds and will never give his family peace.
"Justice would have been not letting him out. If they gave us a $100 million, I'd give it all back for one more day with my dad," said Clark.
The Department of Human Services said they are disappointed by today's decision and plan to appeal it. Attorney David Williams said they are prepared for that appeal but hope today's ruling will be the final resolution.
The Arkansas Claims Commission's decision must be approved by the legislature next year. If an appeal is made, the legislature could award more or less money to the Clark family.