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Man who survived throat slashing begged for his life, police say

3 arrested in kidnapping, robbery, attempted murder of veteran

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A military veteran who survived his throat being slashed in a robbery last month begged for his life before being left to die on the side of a dirt road, according to police.

Two men and a woman have been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery in the attack on Melvin Clark, 86, who was found lying on Maxville Macclenny Highway by a good Samaritan, who called for help and stayed with Clark until he was airlifted to a hospital.

News4Jax has obtained the arrest warrants for Douglas Cercy, 34, Jennifer Schulte, 37, and Ray Jones, 21, who were caught at a Boca Raton bus station after tips and the discover of Clark's stolen SUV led investigators to South Florida.

News4Jax has mug shots of the three but we are not using them, because the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said releasing them might interfere with its investigation.

According to the arrest warrants, Schulte somehow got Clark’s phone number and called him from the Hospitality Inn on 103rd Street on the Westside. Clark drove there, and that’s where he was kidnapped, police said.

Clark was forced to drive to an ATM at Country Federal Credit Union on Lima Street to withdraw money. The warrant says Cercy had a fake gun pointed at Clark.

JSO obtained surveillance video from the ATM, and investigators were able to identify Schulte from it.

An hour later, Clark was found on a road in the Maxville area with his throat cut.

Schulte told police that after forcing Clark to withdraw the money, they told him to drive west on I-10 and then Cercy directed him to get off the interstate and drive down a dirt road.

She told police Clark was forced out of the car and told to get on his knees.

She said she could hear him begging for his life before he went limp and she saw blood coming from his neck.

Schulte told investigators she didn't know whether it was Cercy or Jones who slit Clark's throat.

Investigators also learned that Cercy had called his sister shortly after Clark was found and told her he “had cut an old man's throat near a truck stop on Highway 301.” He admitted to the sister that he'd forced the man to withdraw money from an ATM in the Baldwin area and that he'd stolen the man's SUV, police said.

Cercy told his sister he was worried that his face had been caught on surveillance video and that he had to leave town.

Clark's wife told News4Jax on Wednesday that Clark is progressing slowly and is now awake, although he's only able to whisper and is very tired.


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