Prosecutors say dispute over stolen guns prompted homicide

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: October 15, 2012, 8:34 PM

 
photoDaniel Gentile, who identified himself as a friend of murder suspect Kirk Michael Hernandez Sr., talks to the media outside a Clark County Superior courtroom on Monday. Gentile describes Hernandez as "a nice guy."

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An Oct. 1 homicide in Hazel Dell apparently was prompted by a dispute over some stolen guns, according to court documents.

Two Vancouver men made their first appearances Monday morning in Clark County Superior Court in connection with the killing of Matthew Clark.

Judge Barbara Johnson set bail at $1 million each for Kirk M. Hernandez Sr., 42, and Darrell C. Fry, 33, and appointed attorneys Tom Phelan and Bob Yoseph to represent them, respectively.

Hernandez and Fry were arrested Saturday on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary.

According to court documents, Hernandez previously had stolen five firearms and a police badge from the home of a retired sheriff’s deputy who lives in Battle Ground.

“Kirk Hernandez Sr. said he later took five of the stolen firearms from that burglary to Matt “Splat” Clark’s house, and said Matt ended up stealing these instead of selling them for Kirk,” according to the affidavit.

At around 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1, the two defendants allegedly went to Clark’s home at 9610 N.E. 25th Ave. to settle the debt. They were armed.

After Hernandez and Fry entered the home, they said, Clark attacked Hernandez, knocking him to the ground.

“Kirk said somehow his revolver came out of his pocket and, as he and Matt struggled for the revolver, it went off two or three times,” according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Clark County sheriff’s Detective Kevin Harper.

The men fled. Summoned by a neighbor who heard gunshots, deputies arrived to find the house empty and Clark dead of two gunshot wounds.

In the following days, investigators interviewed several acquaintances who implicated Hernandez and Fry in Clark’s killing. They claimed Hernandez was responsible for the Sept. 24 burglary and theft of the weapons and was angry at Clark for keeping the guns.

Hernandez allegedly told investigators that Clark also owed him $60 and some methamphetamine, according to court documents.

Arraignment for both defendants was set for Oct. 25.


Laura McVicker:http://twitter.com/col_courts; http://facebook.com/reportermcvicker; laura.mcvicker@columbian.com; 360-735-4516.