A Hillsborough County man arrested in November 2017 by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in connection with the murder of his girlfriend was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.
Detectives arrested 35-year-old Michael Clark after deputies responded on October 15 to a vehicle fire along I-75 in Osprey and discovered a deceased female inside his minivan. Clark initially told deputies he didn’t know how the fire began or how the female died. Further investigations by the Bureau of Fire and Arson as well as the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the vehicle was intentionally set on fire, and the victim’s cause of death was homicide by blunt force trauma. During a forensic analysis of Clark’s clothing, sheriff’s office Crime Scene Analysts also discovered a bag of cocaine in one of his pockets.
Today, Clark was found guilty of Murder, Arson, and Possession of Cocaine. He now faces life in prison without parole for the murder of his long-time girlfriend and mother of his three children, 34-year-old Kristen Kelley. He was also sentenced to 15 years for Arson and five years for Possession of Cocaine.