BREAKING NEWS — Diener Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2012 at 2:53 pm 5,523 29 Comments

(Updated at 3:05 p.m.) The man accused of stabbing Lyon Village resident Carl Diener to death has pleaded guilty.

Roger K. Clark III entered a guilty plea on first degree murder charges today, prosecutors said. Circuit Court Judge Joanne F. Alper accepted the plea this afternoon. A sentencing hearing is now scheduled for April 27.

Diener, a 57-year-old Lyon Village resident, was found lying dead on a Clarendon street early on the morning of Dec. 29, 2009. A dogged investigation finally resulted in the arrest of Clark and another man in June 2011.

The second suspect in the case was later released after charges against him were dropped.

  • Clarendude

    They must have had the goods on him. Good work, ACPD ! Maybe he pleaded for consideration for a lower sentence in order to get testimony on the other guy ?

  • LP

    Great news! Even better news that Arlington County didn’t have any homicides in 2011.

    As Clarendude said, good work ACPD.

  • Ben

    Did they ever release a motivation?

  • JimPB

    “…. A dogged investigation….” Specifics of the investigation, please.

  • drax

    Nicely done, ACPD and prosecutors.

    • I wonder what the plea is? There’s not much of a point in spending taxpayer money to keep this guy fed and housed for the rest of his life (much less even consider less of a sentence than that). Unfortunately, a plea likely means he’ll live.

      • CW

        I am not an attorney so I do not know the answer to a couple things. Is a plea always an option, or do the prosecutors have to offer it? Is the judge legally bound to accept it (providing the person is not insane when they enter it or something like that)? Is it guaranteed/required that the sentence for a plea be lighter than one for a conviction?

        I realize google could be my friend here but it might vary by state and I know we have a lot of attorneys around here.

        • Lou

          I think anytime you are charged with a crime you eventually have the opportunity to plead innocent or guilty before the court. Sometimes that is after a whole lot of talking between lawyers and prosecutors, sometimes not.

          • drax

            You can plead guilty, but you aren’t necessarily going to get leniency unless it comes with a plea bargain made with the prosecutors, which they don’t have to do. They only do that when they don’t have a really strong case or they just want to save time and money.

            There’s no mention of a plea bargain in this story, but maybe there was one.

            I’m not a lawyer either but I stayed in that hotel that makes you smart.

      • drax

        A plea bargain might do that, but we don’t know if there was one yet. A simple guilty plea doesn’t mean you get leniency.

        • Ah, true. I jumped to a conclusion. Although, it is difficult to believe his conscious led him to enter a guilty plea.

          • DCBuff

            First degree murder is a capital crime. The motive for the party charged with a capital crime (only murder, at least in VA) in taking a plea bargin is to avoid the needle. The motives for the commonwealth’s attorney, although somewhat based in resources, may also include the difficulty of trying a capital crime, with its mandatory appeals, and the deceased’s kin making clear they do not want the death penalty. There is no way this guy is seeing daylight for decades nor was a plea bargin offered because of lack of evidence.

          • Captain Obvious

            A judge is never required to agree to the terms of a plea deal. The prosecutor recommends one, but courts can depart downward or upward in sentencing or reject the deal altogether. The one advantage of a plea for the defendant in a case like this is that if the prosecutor agrees not to seek the death penalty, the court can’t impose it.

          • Captain Obvious

            Also important to note that there’s virtually no such thing as time off for good behavior in VA.

      • SouthArlJD

        The plea looks like it was a straight up one to first degree murder, so it doesn’t seem to me any big favors are being offered this guy. He may have wanted to avoid a trial in which the hostility of the jurors over this senseless murder might have been inflamed and resulted in a sentence of life without possibility of parole or even the death penalty if there were sufficient aggravating factors. There’s going to be a pre-sentence investigation by the probation office and then he’ll go for sentencing before Judge Alper, but she’s not going to be handing out any candy to this guy. She’s a hardass. He may have some issues we haven’t heard about – perhaps mental health issues or other mitigating factors – but she’s not one to hand defendants the keys to the jailhouse door.

        • drax

          Good point – since juries recommend sentences in VA, that could be a factor in avoiding a trial.

  • Always Right

    Why was the other man released? He was there and didn’t notify anyone or try to stop this mad man.I will bet this guy walks in a few years, too. I don’t think Carl had been retired for a full year when this thug took his life. Everyone who knew Carl liked him. I can bet that this killer had no friends.

    • Clarendude

      How do you know that the man that was released was there at the scene, or was involved in any way? We don’t really know anything about this whole case from what the investigation showed, it seems to me.

  • novasteve

    They must have had the death penalty as the bargaining chip, otherwise I don’t see why you would plead out to murder 1.

  • charlie

    our Grande Jury system is not legal much less binding and none of these guilty saps know it.

  • Alex

    A motive would be helpful for the concerned public. Nobody drives that street randomly.

    • jsmith

      motive? it was a robbery…

      and trust me every plea in arlington is a “deal”…

      • SouthArlJD

        What does THAT mean? “Every plea in Arlington is a ‘deal'”? Most pleas are straight up, meaning the client agrees he’s guilty of the crime charged, and most don’t have any agreement about disposition (sentencing).

  • KSC

    Good old DNA evidence, if you’re going to rob and kill someone, wear gloves when you reach into their pockets. Lesson for all of us, if you’re going to die leave the detectives some DNA evidence under your thumbanils or their blood. Yes, I’d be an inflamed jurist who would not think twice about giving the death penalty in this unprovoked and pre-anticipated/meditated murder.

  • TypicalArlingtonMale

    No homicides, but a bank robbery for every day of the year! Horray!

  • James in EFC

    From the ACPD press release when they were arrested:

    “Detectives have conducted an extensive investigation over the past year and a half and obtained warrants charging Roger K. Clark III, 20, of Severn, Maryland, and Javon Martin, 24, of Washington D.C. with Murder. Roger Clark III, was arrested on June 6, 2011, and Javon Martin was arrested on June 8, 2011. They are pending extradition to Virginia.”

  • pArDOn ME



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