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1 of 3 jailed in veteran's throat slashing now faces murder charge

Jennifer Schulte, 2 men arrested in case

JSO booking photo of Jennifer Schulte
JSO booking photo of Jennifer Schulte

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of three people arrested in an attack on a veteran, who later died, now faces a charge of murder, according to Duval County Jail records. 

The charge against Jennifer Schulte, 38, was upgraded on Monday, jail records show. 

On April 8, Melvin Clark, 86, was found lying in a ditch on Maxville Macclenny Highway by a good Samaritan, who called for help and stayed with Clark until he was airlifted to a hospital.

Clark died on July 27, his family told News4Jax. 

Schulte, Douglas Cercy, 34, and Ray Jones, 21, were arrested April 19 on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and robbery in the attack on Clark. All three pleaded not guilty and are being held without bond. 

Though Schulte's charge was upgraded to murder, the charges against Cercy and Jones remained the same as of Friday, according to jail records. 

The three were caught at a Boca Raton bus station after tips and the discovery of Clark's stolen SUV led investigators to South Florida.

According to the arrest warrants for the three, 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.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office 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. Police said his clothes were completely soaked, making it appear he had pulled himself out of a ditch and onto the dirt road.

Schulte told police that after forcing Clark to withdraw the money, the three 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.

Clark, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, progressed slowly and was able to whisper after the attack, but never recovered from his injuries.