Death penalty sought for 2 men charged in veteran's throat slashing

Douglas Cercy, Ray Jones plead not guilty to murder indictments

Douglas Cercy and Ray Jones
Douglas Cercy and Ray Jones

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two men indicted on murder charges in the death of an 86-year-old military veteran who died months after having his throat slashed last year have pleaded not guilty.

Douglas Cercy Jr. and Ray Jones III are accused of killing Melvin Clark.

The State Attorney's Office has notified both men that it intends to seek the death penalty against them.

Cercy and Jones, who are also charged with kidnapping with a weapon and armed robbery with a deadly weapon, are due back in court in April.

According to police, on April 8, 2017, they kidnapped Clark, made him withdraw cash from an ATM and drove him to a wooded area off U.S. Highway 301 in the Maxville area, where they slashed his throat. Clark died several months later.

“The murder of  this elderly man was heinous, atrocious, and particularly cruel," State Attorney Melissa Nelson said in a news release announcing the indictments.

In October, a third person, Jennifer Schulte, was charged with murder in Clark's death. She has since pleaded guilty.