RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Thomas Clark, the man found guilty of first-degree murder, rape and abduction with the intent to defile in the care of 53-year-old VCU administrator Suzanne Fairman — received a triple life sentence Monday.
Clark received one life sentence for each of the three charges: murder, rape, and abduction of Fairman.
Police found Fairman dead, face-up in the bathtub of her Stratford Hills home on May 9, 2019. Clark had been hired as a contractor by Fairman around the time she was killed.
Fairman’s loved ones stood outside of the courtroom in tears Monday afternoon, anxiously awaiting the final verdict in the case. The court appearance began at 1 p.m. Monday in Room 311 in Richmond City Circuit Court.
Once the case began, Prosecutors called Fairman’s son, Scott Fairman, to the stand to testify on his late mother’s behalf. Scott said it was difficult to describe the light she would bring into a room, and that his mom was a positive person who always put others first.
“Most important part about my mother was that she was a loving, caring, joyous person, and treated everybody with respect, and went out of her way to help everybody when she could,” Scott said. “And having her torn away from us and the world, it has impacted a lot of people, and it is something that we have to live with for the rest of our life.”
Scott continued, saying he never got to thank his mom for all she did for him. He described what happened as “unfathomable” and said it has broken his soul. He told the judge how his heart breaks for his children who will never be able to grow up with their grandmother.
The Prosecution added that not only was what happened to Suzanne every woman’s worst nightmare, but it’s also every family’s worst nightmare.
Throughout the three-day trial back in November 2021, the prosecution called more than a dozen witnesses, including detectives, forensic scientists, the medical examiner, and a cell phone analyst. Thomas Clark trial: Expert witnesses tie rape and murder suspect’s DNA and cell phone to crime scene.
Clark’s counsel said that Clark didn’t want to put his family members through this experience, so he didn’t call any witnesses.
The defense attorney and Clark agreed that what happened to Suzanne was a heinous crime, but insisted that Clark did not do it, and gave Suzanne’s family their sympathy. Clark then made his final statement, a claim that he was “not guilty,” and took his right to remain silent until a lawyer said otherwise.
The judge sentenced Clark to life in prison for all three charges.
The victim’s son previously said he doesn’t want people to remember Suzanne Fairman for what happened to her. Instead, “as the wonderful, beautiful, loving person she was.”
“From here, I just, I try to live my life the way she would want. I try to raise my kids in her memory, and they, they remember her. They talk about her all the time,” Scott said. “And just keep her alive through them.”