Set free: Accused burglar released from jail while awaiting trial

Man with memory issues is accused of wandering into stranger's house and getting into bed with sleeping child.
Cary Ashby
Oct 16, 2013


A suspected burglar who apparently "wandered" into a victim's home is prohibited from being on the premises while the case is pending.

James M. Clarke, 24, of 56 State St., is charged with burglary, which is punishable by six to 18 months behind bars. With no prior felony conviction, he couldn't be sentenced to prison on the fourth-degree felony.

The charge is in connection with a Sept. 15 incident.

Sometime before 5 a.m., Clark allegedly entered the Norwalk house, crawled into the child’s bed, covered up and went to sleep. The disturbance woke up the child, an eighth-grader, so he went into the parents' room and told them: "Some strange guy is in my bed."

When confronted, the man appeared intoxicated and not sure where he was, the homeowner told police. The homeowner talked to the man while his wife called the police.

"(He) wandered in and went to sleep in a bed," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said at Tuesday's arraignment.

Huron County Public Defender David Longo said Clarke suffers from a relatively modest cranial hemorrhage after a crash and as a result, has some memory lapses.

"He had one beer that evening. He tested at .014 (percent)," Longo added. "He got disoriented and simply entered the wrong house."

The legal limit for drivers in Ohio is .08 percent.

Clarke told a Norwalk police officer "he believed he was in a friend's residence," according to a police report.

After being confronted, the defendant walked away and was arrested just north of the victims' South Linwood Avenue residence. Officers identified Clarke as the suspect after one of the victims reported he was wearing a yellow hooded sweatshirt.

Clarke's bond was set at $15,000 when the case went through Norwalk Municipal Court.

At Tuesday's arraignment, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway followed Leffler's recommendation and released Clarke on a personal recognizance bond. That means the defendant signed a court document promising he would appear at future hearings without having to pay any money.

Clarke, whose trial date is Dec. 12, is subject to random drug screens.



One is blind, one has a hemorrhage (I would think he would be under a doctors care and NOT drinking)....what are the other excuses???? Noone takes responsibility! Oh that's right it is the HOMEOWNERS left the door unlocked. BAD HOMEOWNER.


Should have shot him. Period!


Nope, he is a good guy, who has a medical condition. He only had ONE beer and it is NOT his fault. He made a mistake and no harm was done. The homeowner is to blame for not locking his door.


Perhaps we should have corporal punishment. Remember the U.S. citizen that was caned in Singapore? Let's cane these dip5#!ts and see how many more decide to take refuge in someone else's house. Guarantee you won't have this happening every other month.


Who goes to bed and leaves the door unlocked??? Why not just put up a sign saying I'm too stupid to lock my doors at night. Feel free to come in and take whatever you want and do whatever you want.


Nettiewata if you don't know what you are talking about you should get a zipper for that hole in your face. Maybe they left the door unlocked waiting for someone to get home, and manet they don't lock their door, why does that matter at all. I seldom lock my door and the last thing I am worried about is finding someone in my house. I don't live like a terrified child as you obviously do...

Scranton Tibbs

I live in a big city. We lock our doors and don't think twice about it. Maybe you people need to start doing the same. I get the whole Mayberry RFD leave your doors open but it's 2013 and if you leave your place open you're asking for trouble. Don't be ignorant.