A Martinsville man charged with first-degree murder will get to wait for his next court date outside of jail.
Demario Devonte Clark, 27, who twice had been denied bail, recently was released from the Henry County Jail after a judge changed course and granted a bond.
Clark had been in jail since his arrest on Nov. 1, the same day that Jayland Jovan Sandoval Gonzalez, 23, of Martinsville was pronounced dead at Sovah Health-Martinsville.
Gonzalez had been shot several times in the torso, a release from the Henry County Sheriff’s Office stated, allegedly during a party both he and Clark attended at 73 Rose Lane in Martinsville.
At about 3:43 a.m. that day, the 911 Communications Center received a call from a person reporting that someone had been shot at that address, the release stated.
By the time deputies arrived, someone had taken Gonzalez to the hospital in his or her vehicle, and Gonzalez was pronounced dead.
Witnesses told deputies that Gonzalez and Clark had been arguing and that Clark had “shot Gonzalez and fled the scene,” the release stated.
Clark was found, arrested and charged with first-degree murder and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was held without bail in the Henry County jail.
Four days later, Clark was denied bail at a hearing in Henry County General District Court.
But Clark appealed the decision to the Henry County Circuit Court, and on Nov. 19 bail was denied a second time.
A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 7 and then continued to March 4.
“Several commonwealth witnesses failed to appear, and the judge granted the commonwealth’s motion for a continuance,” Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Dawn Futrell said.
On May 10, Clark appeared in Henry County General District Court, where probable cause was found on both the charge of murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a murder.
Then the issue of a bail was reopened, and this time Clark was granted a $75,000 secured bond.
Clark was released later that same day.
It’s unclear what might have changed the view of bail based after the first two denials.
The charges against Clark will be heard by a Henry County Grand Jury at its July term.
Until then, Clark will await outside and not in the jail for those charges to advance.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt.