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Dr. Roland E. CLARK





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Poisoner
Number of victims: 2 +
Date of murders: March 20/November 3, 1967
Date of arrest: November 16, 1967
Date of birth: 1911
Victims profile: Hannah Bowerbank, 63 / Grace Neil (his assistants)
Method of murder: Poisoning (sodium pentothal)
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Status: Convicted on two manslaughter counts. Sentenced to prison for a term of three to fifteen years. Killed at the state penitentiary in Jackson in March 1972. Authorities blaming his death on an accidental fall

It was a wonder Dr. Roland Clark remained in business. During middle age, when most physicians are established in their field and making decent money for their efforts, he appeared to be forever on the brink of some professional disaster. 

Between 1954 and 1967, his medical license was revoked on four separate occasions -- - once for "gross misconduct," twice for "moral turpitude," and once without specific charges from the state. Each time he won a grudging reinstatement, hailing his accusers into court and pleading poverty. 

During the same period, his record showed 25 complaints to the Michigan medical board, including three cases of death from drug overdose in his office, plus allegations of illegal abortion, sexual assaults on his patients, child molestation, excessive drug treatment for mythical ailments, and practicing medicine without a license. Committed to a state hospital in 1958, by his former wife, Clark was released as "recovered" with less than three months of therapy. 

On March 20, 1967, Hannah Bowerbank, Clark's 63-year-old assistant, collapsed and died on the job. Police regarded the circumstances as "curious," but they had no evidence of foul play, and Clark was still doing business in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Township eight months later, when part-time assistant Grace Neil died on November 3. Patrolmen noted a hearse illegally parked at Clark's office that night, stepping inside to discover a corpse, bagged for transport. 

This time, an autopsy showed traces of sodium pentothal, but police forgot their warrants when they went looking for Clark on November 16, and the physician barred them from his premises. Returning with the necessary paperwork, detectives found Clark missing, a 12-hour pursuit ending when bloodhounds ran him to ground near Port Austin, 125 miles north of Detroit. 

Charged with two counts of manslaughter, the 56-year-old doctor was held in lieu of $50,000 bond while authorities probed the deaths of at least nine patients, blamed on "therapeutic misadventure, cardiac arrest, or an injection of one sort or another." 

None of those cases were ultimately pursued, but Clark was convicted on two manslaughter counts in the deaths of his assistants, sentenced to prison for a term of three to fifteen years. 

In March 1972, he was killed at the state penitentiary in Jackson, authorities blaming his death on an accidental fall.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans


SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: S MOTIVE: PC-nonspecific

MO: Physician linked to deaths of three patients and two employees.

DISPOSITION: Three to 15 years for manslaughter; died in prison, 1972.



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