The police, the FBI, the media, and the prosecution have created a fictitious persona to match their profile of a killer. They have tried their best to portray Mike as a person capable of committing a horrible crime, the problem is that this persona is FALSE, and it doesn’t match the real Mike at all. Any person who knows Mike can see how ludicrous it is, but for those who don’t know Mike, it is only fair that you see who he really is. He is in prison, serving LWOP for a crime that he did NOT commit, and he doesn’t have a voice, so here is what the real Mike is like.
Michael Martin Clark is the oldest child of 3, born in Kansas City, MO. He moved to Boulder when he was just a little boy. Being the oldest, he took on the role of being the caretaker. He would do anything for his little sister or his little brother. He was a good kid who always got good grades, he was a boy scout, and a dedicated big brother. Mike was the kid who spent a lot of time helping around the house. His mom will tell stories of him coming home after school in middle school and cleaning the bathrooms, and mowing lawns for neighbors. In high school he worked at the local mall at a sandwich shop to help make ends meet. He grew up in a family that reminds you of the movie “A River Runs through It.” His dad is a fly fishing guide, his mom is a writer, and worked for Social Security for years. He grew up loving nature, and spent a lot of time outdoors.
Mike is also an athlete. His lifelong love has been soccer. He grew up playing soccer, and never stopped. In high school he was a 3 year starter in soccer, playing goalkeeper and the MVP of his team. He was also an All State soccer player, and a part of the Olympic Development Program. He also played college, club, and semi-pro. He was so good that he went on to play internationally. In his high school year book, contrary to what the prosecution would have you believe, people didn’t talk about a “chip on his shoulders” they thanked him for always being there for them, and told him to keep on being the soccer “stud” that he was. Being an athlete, he was not into drinking, drugs, or partying. He was very focused. He continued playing soccer into his adult life and played on both indoor and outdoor teams. In fact, he is still playing soccer, never turning down the opportunity to play on a team at the Correctional Facility.
Mike did well in high school, and started college but things fell apart because he didn't keep his grades up as a freshman; his parents told him that they would no longer pay for school. He took some classes at a community college, but got a job at an auto shop and quickly moved to manager. Once Mike and Amy had kids, he put his dreams of finishing college on hold until they could afford it.
Mike was active in volunteering for the community wherever he lived. He started working as a Soccer Referee at the age of 13, he even refereed for adult teams. He was a volunteer soccer coach, and hockey coach. As an adult he continued to play and to coach soccer. He was the coach of his daughter's team when she was in 1st grade. In Oregon he worked with the Oregon Food Bank, and was on TV doing a commercial to promote this cause. In Summit County he volunteered every Tuesday to serve dinner at the community dinner put on by FIRC (Family Intercultural Resource Center). He also volunteered at "El Grito del Valle" put on by Dillon Valley Elementary, and as a manager, he brought and directed others from his place of work at this event. While in Oregon he spent his career managing an auto shop, this shop won the #1 service award year after year.
Mike is a soft spoken, well educated, kind hearted man who would never turn down a person in need. There are many times he stopped to help pull someone out of a ditch, or to help out with car trouble. He is a loving husband and father, who until the time of his arrest, never missed a bedtime for any of our three children.
When Mike and Amy had their first baby, a little girl, Mike didn’t work on Thursdays. So, that was his “daddy day.” He took Mikaela swimming every Thursday, and then he would take her to the mall and buy her an outfit and lay it out on the kitchen table so proud, so that when Amy got home from work she would see it.
When any of his friends have problems, the one they call to talk it out is Mike. One of his friends got into a sticky situation while 4-wheeling after Mike and Amy had moved to Oregon, and this friend was still in Colorado. Even so, he called Mike for advice. Mike is a man who wore an Irish Kilt to his wedding to honor his Irish/Scottish heritage, and never skips the comics in the newspaper.
Amy remembers a time when they were riding the MAX, the public transportation in Portland, home from a basketball game downtown and they saw some guys get into a fight. Amy was scared, and she kind of hid, behind a wall. At the time Amy was very pregnant and didn’t want to take any chances. One of the guys was outnumbered and he got knocked onto the tracks. Against Amy’s wishes, Mike jumped down onto the tracks and stepped in front of the guy so they would leave him alone, and Mike told the other guys they should leave because he had called the police and they were on the way. He was so brave, and he put himself in harm’s way to protect someone that was in trouble. Amy was mad at him, and proud at the same time. That is the kind of a person Mike is.
Mike is very dedicated to his family, and has always spent time helping them. Mike’s brother lived with Mike and Amy for a time after they were married, until he could get on his feet. A friend of his also lived with Mike and Amy for a time until he could get on his feet. Mike takes care of all things that need repair, i.e. cars, things around the house, etc.
Since Mike has been incarcerated he has been a model prisoner and has never had any marks against him. He is the guy who shows up to work on time every day, and takes pride in his work, no matter how menial the task. He’s involved in the "Read to Children" program and his is a graduate of the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and has been asked to be a core member of this group and help lead the next section. He also works with Spanish speakers who are working to complete their GED's, and helps to tutor them. He is a cross fit coach, and was awarded the soccer MVP award in his prison division. He has done everything imaginable to be a good husband and father from afar. He calls twice a day, and is involved in every aspect of the kids’ lives. On Halloween, he sent home more than 20 different patterns that he made and labeled with specific directions, for carving pumpkins. He draws amazing artwork, and makes cards for his family for every occasion. He made warm winter hats to send home, he sent home dream catchers that he had made for every one of the family to hang over their beds to make their good dreams come true. He makes appointments to read books to the kids and have them recorded on DVD’s to send home so the kids can still hear him reading to them.
Mike still maintains his relations with all of his family, and they believe beyond any shadow of a doubt in his innocence. His sister, his mom and dad take turns visiting every other weekend, when Amy and the children aren't visiting. His family has come together in the face of this injustice, and we are working together to bring the truth to light.
Mike also spends a lot of time reading and writing. He even got a typewriter to write down his thoughts (although it is pretty old school and loud). This is the man Amy fell in love with and have been with for 17 years. The prosecution coined the phrase “same old Mike” when talking about him in a way that was misleading and incorrect. Well, he is the same old Mike. He is the Mike that has never hurt anyone, and who is dealing with unimaginable pain every day missing milestones that his children are reaching. He is the same old Mike that Amy fell in love with, and who needs to be exonerated, because it is the only way to make things right again.
Mike had no sentencing trial or pre-sentencing reports. As soon as the jury handed the verdict to the judge, the judge followed with the sentence. There was no question about the sentence. Many people would have loved to testify to his character, but this was never allowed at the trial or before his sentencing and the Letters attesting to Mike's outstanding character and high moral standards, and his role as a loving and supportive husband and father were never presented at trial. Those Letters, written to Judge Thomas Mulvahill resulted in Mike's bail being set at $100K a low amount for 1st degree murder when bail for such a crime is often set at $500K and higher or even denied. While out on bail Mike asked the judge if he could go out of state to a wedding and the judge said yes; this is most often unheard of but the judge knew Mike wasn't a flight risk and would return to stand trial. During the nine months Mike was out on bail his employer stood behind him, even after his character was trampled by the media he was still welcomed back to his job at Bighorn Ace Hardware and worked right up until the time he was wrongfully convicted. In fact, there is a letter from Don and Betsy Sather, owners of the hardware store written to the judge attesting to his character which helped Mike receive such a low bail. After Mike was released on bail and while awaiting his trial, he was volunteering for the Forest Service, and doing trail walks and cleaning up the trails. This is a passion of his and he did this volunteer work for the nine months out on bail.
Mike's "Make Believe Eulogy" as written by his wife Amy Clark
This may be very strange, but as an exercise for the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People class, Mike was asked to have me write him a eulogy. I just worked hard on this, and so I wanted to share it. (He is alive, not so well, but alive).
My husband was such a wonderful man. I'm not sure I can really express just how much I will miss him.
Not only was he a wonderful husband, but a wonderful father ...and so much more. When I think back on our time together, it is not so much the memories that stick with me, but the feeling I had when he was around. When he was around, people smiled more and laughed louder. I felt safe and I could just stay in the moment and cherish it.
Mike was a care taker. He would have done anything for me and for our children. His greatest love was his family, his parents and his brother and sister...me, and our 3 beautiful children who all remind me of him in so many little inexplicable ways. A smile or smirk, a sarcastic look, a move on the soccer field, he is in everything they are and they do.
It has been nearly 18 years since we were first met, and I look back over those years with so much happiness.
I remember the first time I saw him -a mutual friend introduced us on Valentine's Day. Something about him spoke to me on a level I had never felt before. He was wearing a green baseball cap, and his eyes were as green as his hat. He exuded a kind of confidence that lit up the room. I was too shy initially to even hold his eye contact, but I couldn't get him out of my mind after that night, or ever again. When he came to a party at our house, I knew that nothing else mattered, and that I would be with him forever. I just felt it.
Mike was always such a gentleman – well mannered and polite, but always quick with a witty remark. His joviality and good nature attracted people the moment he walked in the room, and no one could forget contagious smile, although sometimes it took people a while to get used to his level of sarcastic wit.
Mike always had a passion for the outdoors. It put him at ease. He was happiest outside in the fresh air, far away from civilization. He used to say that he would like to get his own private island. Our first babies were our two dogs. Mike cared for them like they were children. We spent many hours at the dog park, and walking our dogs through various parks in Oregon through rain or shine. He was a fly fisherman, he learned from his dad and I always thought of his family as similar to the one in "A River Runs Through It." Mike was a natural athlete, strong, coordinated, and athletic. He was an amazing goal keeper from the time he was very young, and had a reputation in high school for being a soccer stud. He loved camping, and hiking, and made it to the top of many of the fourteeners in Colorado.
When we had each of our children ¬ Mikaela, Kylie, and Kiernan– he was delighted. Mike was a wonderful father to them and when he wasn't working, he was with them, and me. For a long time he had Thursdays off of work, and he used to take Mikaela as a baby to swim lessons. He loved being the token dad in the classes, and then he would always take her shopping, as a baby, and when I came home from work he would have a new outfit for her laid out proudly on the table to show me. (Usually something ADIDAS). smile emoticon Sadly, as the kids grew up, they couldn't be with Mike. But this never stopped him from being an amazing dad, and from giving them everything that he had. They always went to him for advice, and loved to tell him all of their stories. They respected and loved him deeply. Mike was also an artist, and a writer, and he expressed his love for me and our children through his art work, which we cherish.
Mike was a hard working and giving man. Not only was he committed to his job, but he was also committed to giving back to the community. He loved language, and was learning Gaelic, and (more practically) learning Spanish. He wasn't afraid to use his Spanish to make employees or customers feel comfortable. He always encouraged us take life by the horns and not to be afraid– he brought out the best in people. He would always say, He was much more practical and organized than me, yet he liked to be spontaneous and surprise people too.
He inspired me– he was my steadfast rock that helped me through thick and thin. Mike never gave up the fight even when things seemed hopeless. He got knocked down, and he just kept getting back up because he knew that he had something to live for. His family always loved him, and never dreamed that they would have to live in a world without him.
Mike may be gone from the earth, but his spirit lives on, and he will continue to inspire me until the day I die.
Goodbye, my dear, sweet husband.
I love you.
This is a letter of appreciation Mike received from Jay Hudson, Administrative Service Manager 7 Habits Facilitator. This letter shows how much Mike contributed to this program and the high level of character Mike demonstrated. This should surprise no one who knows Mike as we all know what an outstanding citizen he is.