Convicted killer Hadden Clark found guilty of felony theft
May. 12, 1999




May 14, 1999

by Frank Curreri


Staff Writer

Hadden Irving Clark, a convicted killer scheduled to stand trial for another murder next month, will receive even more time in prison after a Montgomery County jury found him guilty of felony theft last week.

Clark, 46, had been charged with stealing thousands of dollars' worth of property from a Bethesda family in 1988. The jury found Clark guilty of one count of felony theft on May 4, ruling he had stolen more than 100 audiocassettes and property exceeding $300 in value from the family's residence. The stolen items were discovered by police in 1996 at a Rhode Island storage bin that Clark had been renting.

But the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a second felony theft charge, which accused Clark of taking about $900 worth of woodworking tools from the home's owner, Paul Mahany. Similar tools -- some of them sophisticated and rare -- were uncovered in Clark's bin.

Clark pleaded guilty to murdering 23-year-old Laura Houghteling of Bethesda in 1993 and is currently serving a 30-year prison sentence for the crime. He would have been eligible for parole next year, according to Montgomery County Assistant State's Attorney James Trusty, who teamed with Debra Dwyer to prosecute Clark in the theft case.

Clark faces a maximum of 15 additional years in prison when he is sentenced May 24 for the felony theft conviction.

"We have a responsibility to incapacitate him, and we don't want him back out on the streets again," Trusty said.

Mahany, a retired writer and editor who is an avid woodworker, testified in Montgomery County Circuit Court that he once rented a room at his Bethesda home to Clark, and that an alarming number of his family's personal possessions came up missing "rather soon after Mr. Clark" moved out in 1988.

Mahany said Clark had a key to his home that he never returned.

Clark's brother, Jeff, testified last Tuesday that while in jail, Hadden Clark gave him a list in 1996 of things to get rid of and to keep in the jam-packed 10-foot-square storage bin in Rhode Island. Jeff Clark said his brother ordered him to throw out purses, handbags, suitcases and "everything inside of the suitcases."

"I destroyed some things and donated others to charity," Jeff Clark told the court.

He also testified that Hadden Clark did own "rudimentary" work tools, but not some of the refined tools that were found at his storage bin.

Police were searching the storage bin as part of the Houghteling investigation.

Donald Salzman, one of the public defenders representing Clark, told jurors that Clark is a "pack rat" who saved almost everything. Salzman said Clark, who once carved an ice sculpture for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., had his own work tools -- but had trouble explaining the cassette tapes, some of which had the name of the Mahanys' daughter on them.

"Other than the cassette tapes, the rest of the property ... didn't have anyone's name on it," Salzman told the jury. "There were no serial numbers on it to indicate it belonged to the Mahanys. It was the kind of property that you might find in anyone's home.

"[Police] didn't find a lot of the things because [Clark] did not take them."

Clark will stand trial again June 7 on charges of murdering 6-year-old Michele Dorr of Silver Spring on Memorial Day 1986. Clark has denied committing the crime and Dorr's body has never been found.

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