OMARI E. CLARK, Defendant Below, Appellant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Plaintiff Below, Appellee.
Submitted: December 13, 2017
Below-Superior Court of the State of Delaware Cr. ID No.
VALIHURA, VAUGHN, and TRAYNOR, Justices.
F. TRAYNOR JUSTICE.
10th day of January 2018, having considered the
briefs and the record below, it appears to the Court that:
March 2015, a Superior Court jury found Omari Clark guilty of
Manslaughter and Possession of a Deadly Weapon During the
Commission of a Felony ("PDWDCF") in connection
with the June 2010 stabbing death of Wyatt
Brower. Thereafter, Clark was sentenced to 30
years' imprisonment, suspended after 22 years, followed
by probation. Clark raises one argument on appeal-that the
failure of the Superior Court to provide a "missing
evidence" jury instruction deprived him of due process
and his right to a fair trial. Finding no merit to
Clark's contention, we AFFIRM Clark's convictions.
incident leading to Brower's death began when Clark went
to the Brower residence in Wilmington, Delaware looking for
his infant daughter's mother, Nish, who was the
girlfriend of Brower's grandson. When Clark knocked on
the front door, Vanessa Brower, Wayne Brower's wife,
answered. Clark asked Vanessa if Nish was in the house. At
first, Vanessa believed that Nish was not present and so
advised Clark, who then left. But shortly after Clark left,
Vanessa learned that Nish was in her home, so she went out
into the street to see if Clark was still in the vicinity. He
was, and Vanessa told him that Nish was in fact at the Brower
residence and would come out to speak with him.
After Clark engaged in a physical altercation with Nish
outside the residence, Wayne Brower exited the residence and
announced his intention to call the police. Clark responded
by punching Brower in the face. The situation deteriorated
further when two of Brower's sons and his grandson came
to his defense. One of Brower's sons hit Clark in the
back of the head with a metal chair. Clark then fled on foot,
but not long thereafter returned to the Brower residence
wielding a knife.
When Clark returned with the knife, Wayne Brower came back
out of the residence with a walking stick. As Brower came out
of the house, he beat the stick on the steps and hollered,
"I'm tired of this, " and "leave my family
alone."The banging of the walking stick caused it
to break in two, but Brower was able to hold on to the
skinnier part of the stick.
According to Teheshia Morris, another of the Browers'
children who was watching from the front door, Brower was
trying to get his family members back into the house while
backing up the steps, when he lost his balance and fell
backwards. As Brower lay supine, Teheshia witnessed Clark
"run up [and] stab [her] father [in the]
stomach." After he stabbed Brower, Clark ran to his
car. As he drove away, Nigel Morris struck Clark's car
with one of the pieces of the broken walking stick, but that
did not impede Clark's escape.
Shaunte Brown, a witness called by the defense, confirmed
that Brower was wielding a stick, which she also described as
"like a mop head, " when he came out of his house
before his final encounter with Clark. Brown described
how "the older man, [Brower]" was swinging the
stick like a "baseball bat, " and
"actually connected more than the younger one [Clark]
because he had a long stick."According to Brown, as Brower
began to walk backwards toward his house, he started to lose
his footing, "but the stick [was] out extended this way,
he's still hitting." Brown testified that Clark then
punched Brower and did not see the knife with which the other
witnesses saw Clark stab Brower.
When the police interviewed Clark after his arrest, he
claimed that Brower came at him with "a bat, " and
that he was defending himself when he stabbed
Brower. Brower died later that evening as a result
of the stab wounds.
responding officers from the Wilmington Police Department
("WPD"), who arrived on the scene at 10:22 p.m.,
approximately three minutes after being notified of the
fight, were told that "a person had been
stabbed." They rendered first aid to Brower and
called for an ambulance, which arrived within five minutes.
They then secured the scene and talked to the people who were
inside the residence asking them to describe what happened.
Sergeant Karchner of the WPD Evidence Detection Unit arrived
at the scene at 11:30 p.m. Because a stabbing had occurred,
he collected, among other things, a knife from a butcher
block found in the Browers' kitchen, fingerprinted
various items, and took photographs of the scene. He recalled
seeing sticks and debris in the street in front of the
residence but, because the presence of such material
"wouldn't be uncommon . . . in the roadway . . . of
a tree-lined block in the city, " and ...