Four years on probation & must have head examined
IRONTON, Ohio––Pleading guilty to aggravated assault against Showing Animals Respect & Kindness founder Steve Hindi, Shannon Lee Clark, 37, of Ironton, Ohio, was on April 18, 2022 sentenced to serve four years on probation, perform 200 hours of community service, pay court costs, and “complete a mental health assessment and comply with treatment recommendations.”
Clark and co-defendant James V. “Bub” Newcomb, 54, were caught by SHARK hidden cameras in the act of attacking Hindi and SHARK employee Adam Fahnestock on January 3, 2021.
Newcomb and Clark charged Hindi moments after Hindi launched a drone from the public access to Newcomb’s property, east of Ironton, to investigate an alleged cockfight which was believed to be already underway.
The SHARK investigation was part of a nationwide campaign against cockfighting funded by the Humane Farming Association.
Judge accepted plea bargain he earlier rejected
Newcomb was videotaped knocking the drone controller out of Hindi’s hand and smashing it first against his own mailbox, then against the car Fahnestock was driving.
Both Newcomb and Clark then allegedly participated in throwing Hindi to the ground, kicking and beating him repeatedly, threatening to kill him, and then assaulting and beating him again, minutes later, on another public road about a quarter mile away.
Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas Judge Andrew Ballard issued the plea-bargained sentence without offering any explanation why.
Judge Ballard had on November 10, 2021 rejected essentially the same plea bargain, warning Clark then, in so many words, that violent offenses of the severity he was originally charged with would require jail time.
Judge said Clark’s testimony was of little value
Clark had been offered a suspended sentence by the prosecution in exchange for his testimony against Newcomb, but Judge Ballard indicated that he had not been informed about the deal.
Judge Ballard at that time described Clark’s testimony as having been of little value in securing Newcomb’s conviction on multiple counts,
Clark was originally indicted by a Lawrence County grand jury on February 23, 2021 on the felonious assault charge plus one count each of fifth degree felony theft, and one count of felonious evidence tampering.
Many priors, little prison time
Clark brought to the courtroom a history of multiple prior arrests and convictions, for offenses including having allegedly assaulted a former police officer who once arrested him, after a chance meeting in an Ironton bar.
Clark is believed to have plea bargained light sentences in previous cases in exchange for his testimony against co-defendants, and/or for providing information to police about other crimes under investigation.
Judge Ballard on November 10, 2021 sentenced Newcomb to serve from four to six years in the Ohio state penitentiary, and fined Newcomb $5,000.
Newcomb was convicted on November 5, 2021, after a two-day jury trial, of one count of felonious assault for using his pickup truck to ram Fahnestock’s car, running it off the road into a deep ditch; one count of felony theft for causing the loss or destruction of a SHARK drone, the drone controller, and miscellaneous camera equipment; and one count of misdemeanor assault for beating Hindi.