Pensacola man guilty of murder for shooting estranged wife's boyfriend with shotgun
A Pensacola man has been found guilty of shooting his estranged wife's boyfriend at pointblank range with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing the man while he was a passenger in a car on Mobile Highway.
After deliberating for three hours, an Escambia County jury on Tuesday convicted Gregory Clark of second-degree murder in the Sept. 20, 2019, death of Darryl Penn.
The jury also found Clark, 58, not guilty of a second charge of aggravated assault with a firearm.
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During the trial, prosecutors sought a conviction for first-degree premeditated murder.
But in his opening statement Tuesday morning, defense attorney Todd Early told jurors that Clark was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Penn two years ago.
"This isn’t a who done it. This is a why did it happen?" Early argued.
If he had been convicted of first-degree murder, Clark would have automatically received the state-mandated sentence for the charge, which is life in prison, after prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.
Clark will now face a minimum possible sentence of 25 years in state prison. His maximum possible sentence remains life in prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 before Circuit Court Judge Thomas Dannheisser.
In his own opening statement Tuesday morning, Assistant State Attorney Alvin "Trey" Myers told jurors that although Clark and his wife, Anna Church, were separated and lived apart, Clark couldn’t bear the thought of her being with another man.
"Mr. Clark wants to get back together and keeps texting her, 'Please, baby, let's get back together. Give me another chance.' And she’s not responding," Myers told the jury. "She's not having none of it. For a month and a half — two months — she's been seeing another man, Darryl Penn."
In the months leading up to his death, Penn spent a lot of time with Church at her home in Brownsville.
"Mr. Clark would come over trying to find out if (Penn) was there," Myers said. “And on this day, that is what he did.”
On the afternoon of Sept. 20, 2019, Myers said Clark was caught looking through the windows of his estranged wife's home and she told him to leave, which he did.
Ten minutes later, Church and Penn left the home to pick up her child from school. They had only driven about four blocks when they realized Clark was following them in a pickup truck.
The situation came to a head at the intersection of Shoemaker Street and Mobile Highway, where Church was forced to stop for a red light.
"Clark pulls in behind her, stops, gets out and walks to the driver side window, and he's yelling," Myers said.
Penn then got out of the car, confronted Clark and waited for him to walk away before sitting back down in the passenger seat.
Meanwhile, Clark walked back to his truck, took a 12-gauge shotgun out of the pickup bed, walked back to Church’s car, stood above the passenger side door and shot "one time through the window, striking Mr. Penn in the face," Myers told the jury.
Immediately after the shooting, Church hit the gas and sped away to a convenience store off Mobile Highway and Green Street with Penn still in her passenger seat.
Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at email@example.com or 850-435-8680.