Employer of contractor accused of raping, murdering VCU administrator knew of past rape conviction

Crime

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8News has learned more details about the man accused of raping and murdering a Richmond woman who was found dead in her home back in May.

Thomas E. Clark, 59, of the 7100 block of Horsepen Road, Henrico County, was indicted Monday on charges of murder, rape, and abduction with intent to defile. Clark was picked up a week after 53-year-old Suzanne A. Fairman’s murder on charges not related to the homicide investigation.

Thomas E. Clark

Fairman was found face down in her bathtub next to a bloody knife at her home in the 7400 block of Tanglewood Road by police during a welfare check on the night of May 9. The welfare check was prompted because Fairman was supposed to have been traveling to Florida to visit her mom for Mother’s Day, but she never arrived.

Fairman was employed at Virginia Commonwealth University as an operational administrator.

VCU’s website

According to online records, Clark has a lengthy criminal history, including a rape conviction in Alexandria in 1988. He was also charged in May with failing to register as a sex offender, grand larceny and possession of drugs in Henrico County.

Suzanne Fairman’s son, Scott Fairman, told 8News Tuesday that Clark was a contractor hired to stain his mother’s deck. He believes Clark purposefully did not finish the deck so he could go back to the home and murder his mother.

Suzanne A. Fairman’s home in the 7400 block of Tanglewood Road

8News confirmed Tuesday that Clark works for C&C and Son Landscaping and Pressure Wash in Henrico County. When 8News called the business, a man said that “Clark would never hurt no one.”

“I know Mr. Clark and that man wouldn’t kill her and wouldn’t hurt nobody,” said the man, who hung up the phone before 8News was able to get his name.

The man also told 8News on the phone that just because he was doing work on Fairman’s home, doesn’t make him her murderer. When asked if the company had done a background check on Clark, the man said, “Yes, I knew he was a registered sex offender, but people deserve a second chance and just because he was a sex offender, doesn’t mean he would murder anybody.”

Scott Fairman said on Monday following news of the indictment that he is thankful “justice will be served,” but he still couldn’t fathom what happened to his mother and why.

Suzanne A. Fairman and her son Scott Fairman

“It’s just as painful now as it was the first week,” he told 8News in a phone interview.

He also thanked “everyone who’s putting in the long hours to try to bring this man to justice.”

Suzanne A. Fairman

On Tuesday, 8News spoke with a neighbor who lived near the suspected killer, describing Clark’s behavior as “bizarre.”

“He was catcalling some of the women walking down the street and then I heard some commotions just like arguments with the people that he worked with,” Thadd Yatkin said. “I heard from another person that he was using racial slurs in the front yard of his house to himself, basically.”

Yatkin lived across the street from Clark and knew he was a registered sex offender, adding “I was kind of leery of encountering this man.”

“We were kind of like, why is this man out and why is he living across the street,” Yatkin said of Clark’s residency in the area. “My understanding is that he used to live with his wife a few blocks away.”

8News went to Clark’s ex-wife’s home, but she was not there. 8News also knocked on the door of Clark’s brother. Speaking off-camera, he told 8News his brother had been married several times, often got into trouble since high school, and did drugs.

According to court documents, when police questioned Clark about Fairman’s death, he said she was beaten and thrown in the tub, a detail not previously released by police.

At this time, Clark remains in custody at Henrico County’s jail.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call Major Crimes Detective J. Baynes at (804) 646-3617 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.7801000.com. The P3 Tips Crime Stoppers app for smartphones may also be used. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

RELATED: Contractor charged with rape, murder of VCU administrator

RELATED: Person of interest in custody months after woman found dead in Richmond home

RELATED: Grieving son desperate for answers after mother found murdered in Richmond home

RELATED: Police: Richmond woman found face down in tub near bloody knife was murdered

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

StormTracker 8

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Local Events