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Defendant testifies that shirt color was a factor in deadly Oklahoma City ambush

A tree-trimmer was killed in Oklahoma City in 2011 after being mistaken for a gang member. He was wearing an orange work uniform.
by Tim Willert Published: March 15, 2013

When Jerry Clark Jr. pulled into his aunt's driveway on a June afternoon in 2011, he still had on his orange work shirt.

Turns out the 45-year-old tree trimmer was wearing the wrong color for that inner northeast Oklahoma City neighborhood and he would pay for it with his life.

As he drove his Cadillac down NE 28, Clark's assailants mistook his orange shirt and orange bandanna for symbols he was a member of the “Hoover” Crips, a rival gang.

“It was the wrong color, I guess,” said Chase Devon Calton, 16, who testified Thursday at the trial of co-defendant Davion Pollard.

Pollard, 18, of Oklahoma City, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 8, 2011, death of Clark.

Gang claimed block

Prosecutors said Clark didn't belong to a gang and didn't have a criminal record. But that didn't matter to members of the “Neighborhood” Crips, who claimed the 2100 block of NE 28.

Clark spent about 25 minutes with his aunt, Mary Mason, before he returned to his car and was ambushed.

Calton testified that he and three co-defendants targeted Clark because he wore a color favored by the “Hoover” Crips and drove a Cadillac.

“I guess they thought he might have money,” Calton said. “We were going to catch him before he got in his car.”

Clothing, colors and tattoos can all be symbols of gang membership. Some gang members are more subtle and use shoe laces, belts or belt buckles to show their gang's colors, Oklahoma City police gang unit Detective Tim Hock said.

Other times they are showier.

“State fairs are prime examples for them to flaunt their colors,” he said.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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