ITHACA, N.Y. — The trial of a man accused of holding a gun to a woman’s head concluded Tuesday at the Tompkins County Court.
Ithaca man Clifton Clarke was sentenced to about six months of the Shock Incarceration Program in lieu of state prison. The program is a rehabilitation program involving military-style discipline and drills, and allows inmates the chance to reduce longer sentences.
Clarke previously plead guilty to one count of unlawful imprisonment, a felony, for a crime committed on Mother’s Day of last year. Allegedly, a conflict between Clarke and a 49-year-old woman escalated to the point where he held a shotgun to her head and threatened her.
Acting District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said, “…Mr. Clarke remains a very violent dangerous person.”
He said that in addition to the accusations, Clarke has repeatedly had interim probation violations.
Presiding Judge John Rowley said Clarke tested positive for drug use and was rearrested in mid-September. He also failed to comply with other probation requirements, such as checking in to probation and maintaining a permanent residence.
Clarke, against his lawyer’s recommendation, asked to be locally incarcerated, a request that Judge Rowley decided not to grant, stating that the lack of treatment options in county jail would not be helpful to Clarke.
“We unfortunately do not have much to offer in our local jail…,” Rowley said about the options.
Clarke expressed sorrow for his actions and believed local imprisonment would better suit him.
“I’m very sorry,” Clarke said. “I’m out of excuses for my actions. I just plead for mercy.”
Clarke told the judge that he had gone through the death of his friends, and that the situation he found himself in on Mother’s Day of last year was one that nobody wants to be in.
Clarke is a first-time felon and was eligible for the shock incarceration program. If he successfully completes the program, he could be released in about six months. If he does not, he could serve one to three years in prison.
Correction: This story previously reported that Clarke was on probation. He was actually on interim probation.