JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two men will avoid the death penalty after pleading guilty Tuesday afternoon in the murder of an elderly Navy veteran whose throat was cut before he was left for dead.
Douglas Harris Cercy, 36, and Roy Landis Jones III, 23, entered guilty pleas to second-degree murder and kidnapping charges in the July 2017 death of 86-year-old Melvin Clark.
Cercy and Jones each face 40 years in prison up to life in prison at sentencing.
According to Jacksonville police, the duo and a third defendant kidnapped Clark on April 8, 2017, forced him to withdraw cash from an ATM and then drove him to a remote location off U.S. 301.
Once they arrived, Clark's throat was slashed and the group left him there to die. The veteran somehow survived the attack, but he later died of his injuries July 26, 2017.
The third defendant, 39-year-old Jennifer Schulte, awaits sentencing after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and kidnapping charges. She also faces up to life in prison.