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New details on evidence in triple murder and arson case

Published On: Jun 25 2013 01:06:06 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 25 2013 09:18:34 PM CDT
MAGALIA, Calif. -

After Donald Clark pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and arson in court on Tuesday, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said investigators have strong physical evidence against him.

Clark is accused of killing three people at his Butte Creek Canyon home on June 12, then burning their bodies in a car. He was charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of Colleen Lowe, 46, her son, Roland Lowe, 15, and Richard Jones, Jr., 17.

According to Ramsey, investigators found the murder weapon and gallons of dirt with the victims' blood on it in a Chico storage locker belonging to Clark.

"We found that bicycle he removed himself from the scene of the burning," Ramsey said, "we also even found three 5-gallon buckets of blood stained dirt that he removed from the scene."

Ramsey said that investigators started looking into Clark when Jones' mother called law enforcement. Jones' mother saw a news story about the burned bodies and was worried one of the bodies was that of her missing son.

Investigators say that on June 12, Jones and the Lowes came to Clark’s rural home on Centerville Road about 45 minutes east of Chico.

They were driving an Acura TL that had been stolen from Sacramento the previous day. Investigators said Clark had previously told Jones to stay off his property.

When Jones and the Lowes did not leave, investigators say they believe that Clark shot the three with a shotgun, put their bodies in the car, drove it to the Skyway in Magalia, and set the vehicle on fire.

Over the last week, friends of Clark's have come forward saying that Clark had spoken of the 17-year-old Jones and how he was afraid of him. Clark also told friends that he believed Jones had stolen from his property before.

Ramsey said that while being interviewed, Clark also said certain things he cannot yet reveal that led them to believe that he killed the three people.

Clark's preliminary hearing will take place on July 23 at 8 a.m.