Sussex County Man Arrested in 1967 Death of Arkansas Man - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Man Arrested in 1967 Death of Arkansas Man

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James Clay James Clay
NEWPORT, Ark. (AP) - A 67-year-old Delaware man has been arrested in the death of North Little Rock man whose remains were discovered more than 45 years ago in a rural area near Newport.
   
According to an arrest affidavit signed by a Jackson County circuit judge on Monday, James Leon Clay had told a cellmate while incarcerated in Delaware in 2012 that he killed 27-year-old James Ricks in Arkansas in 1967.
   
Ricks' remains were discovered in August 1967, and the Jackson County coroner determined that he had been shot at the base of his skull.
   
On June 20, 1967, a 20-year-old man and his brother were arrested in Elliott City for carrying concealed weapons, and police linked the weapons to a theft at a Little Rock pawnshop.
   
Police also found Ricks' Oldsmobile, which had been reported missing along with him. They discovered fingerprints belonging to the brothers on the inside and outside of the vehicle, according to Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas.
   
Lucas' affidavit says the brothers were taken to Little Rock and convicted of transporting in interstate commerce, which included driving the stolen car from North Little Rock to Elliot City. One of the brothers was also convicted of transporting a stolen .32-caliber pistol from North Little Rock.
   
Neither of the brothers was charged with Ricks' killing. Lucas said he didn't know why they were not charged.
   
According to the affidavit, the older brother, Clay, told a cellmate in 2012 that he killed Ricks after he and his sibling robbed a Little Rock pawnshop in 1967. He allegedly said that their car broke down and they found Ricks sleeping in the Oldsmobile when they were walking along some railroad tracks.
   
Lucas said that at that time, Clay knocked on the window and startled Ricks. He then shot the victim in the side of the face through the glass, but Ricks was only injured.
   
The man said he "got Ricks out of the car and handcuffed him and placed him in the trunk of his car," the affidavit said. The brothers drove all night until they ended up in Jackson County. Clay told his cellmate that they got Ricks out of the car and handcuffed him to a tree.
   
The affidavit says the suspect took the handcuffs off of Ricks, and told him that they would have someone come get him. The suspect then shot the Ricks in the back of the head.
   
The cellmate contacted the FBI in Baltimore and talked to investigators in April 2012. The affidavit says the suspect repeated the story twice to the cellmate while he was wearing a recording device. Both men had been released on parole by that time.
   
"This is incredible that someone cared this much after all this time," said Deb Green, spokesman for the FBI in Little Rock. "I'm grateful this mystery has ended."
   
The Georgetown Police Department arrested James Clay on March 10, 2015 for the outstanding warrant out of Jackson County Arkansas. Officers responded to his residence located on Waples Drive and took him into custody without incident. Clay was charged with being a fugitive from another state. He is being held in the Sussex County Correctional Institution in Georgtown without bond. He's expected to appear before a magistrate for an extradition hearing this week.

Authorities say they have no information on Clay's brother.

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