A federal agent on trial in the Virgin Islands for murder has been cleared of wrongdoing, after the presiding judge dismissed the case Thursday.
Judge Edgar Ross dismissed the case against Will Clark, after prosecutors concluded their case. The trial had begun Monday.
"It was so obvious on its face that they so flagrantly failed to meet their burden that a kindergarten student holding a gavel would have drawn the same conclusion that Judge Ross did," Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), tells POLICE Magazine.
The dismissal is also being reported by WHEC.com, an NBC affiliate in Rochester, N.Y., where Clark's family still lives. Rep. Chris Lee released a statement praising the judge's decision.
"As I have said from the beginning, Will is a hero, not a murderer, and I'm so grateful the judge looked at the facts of the case and agreed," according to Lee. "Our law enforcement officers need to know that they will not be prosecuted for taking lawful actions to protect the innocent, whether they are on duty or off."
Clark, 35, an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was on trial for second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and using a dangerous weapon stemming from his shooting of Marcus Sukow during a domestic dispute.
Clark had come to the aid of a Sukow's girlfriend, Marguerite Duncan, during a domestic dispute. Sukow charged Clark with a large flashlight and ignored the agent's lawful orders, prior to Clark discharging his service weapon and killing Sukow.
In court, Duncan backpeddled on statements she initially made to investigators, testifying she had not asked Clark for help with an abusive boyfriend.
Defense attorney Mark Schamel had requested the case be dismissed because proper procedure was not followed in identifying Sukow's body to the medical examiner, according to an Associated Press report. Schamel said prosecutors owe Clark and his family an apology.
"My heart is smiling and crying for the Clark family," added Adler, who traveled to the Virgin Islands to observe the trial. "But at the same time I'm feeling a lot of anger for what the Virgin Islands prosecuting team subjected the Clark family to."
Investigations by the Department of Justice and ATF had concluded that Clark's shooting was justified.