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Family ties link 1998 murder to current case

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

By Karen Hall

Staff Writer

During discussion of Kay Colvett's Easter-weekend death, one person remarked, "How tragic for her daughters: now both of their parents have been murdered."

Before she was married to Kenneth Colvett, Kay was married to Ronnie Clark, the father of her daughters, Rhonda and Jennifer.

After he and Kay split up, Ronnie Clark married Linda Miller, who also had two children, a son and a daughter. Ronnie Clark was a self-employed carpenter, according to his obituary, while Linda Clark was a mortgage consultant with Trans Financial in Tullahoma.

In January 1998, they had been married for less than a year, and were living at 676 Belfast-Farmington Road.

About 3 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, 1998, a Marshall County emergency dispatcher was notified of a fire, and moments later a deputy arrived and found the house fully engulfed in flames.

Two bodies were eventually found in the ruins of the home.

"Medical Examiner Charles Harlan conducted an autopsy and determined their deaths to be a result of homicide," the Marshall Gazette reported.

In May 1998, the Lewisburg Tribune announced that Governor Don Sundquist had authorized a $5,000 reward for "information leading to the apprehension, indictment and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Ronnie and Linda Clark." This story refers to the Clarks as "shot...and burned beyond recognition."

It also states that, at the time, "state and local investigators have no leads in the case."

Marshall County Sheriff Norman Dalton was a detective at the time. In a telephone interview Tuesday, he said investigators pursued a great many crime tips and leads, but none led to an arrest. As far as he's concerned, the Clark case is an "unsolved homicide."

Dalton said there was no chance that the bodies in the house were not Ronnie and Linda Clark and no chance that the shooting and fire had been accidental.

What about a murder-suicide?

Dalton thought a long time, and replied, "No, I don't believe so."