CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Charleston man accused of killing the mother of his 2-year-old son was charged at least 17 times in four years for often violent offenses tied to domestic battery, drugs, wanton endangerment, burglary and weapons.
Whenever police arrested Desmond Clark in the last year and a half, they called in the SWAT team to do so, said Sgt. S.A. Cooper, chief detective for Charleston police.
"He frequently came across as being unfazed any time he was arrested or facing serious charges," Cooper said. "He threatened to shoot police last year when he kidnapped his girlfriend."
Since 2004, Nalisha Fiona Gravely had said that Clark broke her nose, kicked her, dragged her by her hair, kidnapped her, choked her, stabbed her with a kitchen knife and grazed her in the leg with a bullet.
The most recent domestic battery charge stemmed from a May 17 incident, where Clark allegedly punched his ex-girlfriend in the stomach at a house on Red Oak Street in Charleston. A hearing in that case was set for July 14, according to magistrate court records.
Charleston police say Clark, 22, killed Gravely, 19, at a Taco Bell on Patrick Street on Charleston's West Side. Clark allegedly shot her while they were in a car together, after he abducted her from a North Charleston house around 2 p.m. Saturday.
Gravely ran inside the Taco Bell, where she asked to use a phone, and then jumped across the counter to hide in a closet. Police say Clark followed across the counter, found Gravely in the closet and shot her six times.
Clark was not supposed to have a gun for many reasons. He was a convicted felon after a plea to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He had also pleaded guilty to domestic battery, which also barred him from having a firearm.
Also, Kanawha Family Court Judge Mark Snyder issued a domestic violence protective order against Clark on May 28, eight days after Gravely filed a domestic violence petition against him.
According to Snyder's order, Clark was to have no contact with Gravely until Aug. 28, a few days after she would have turned 20.
Court records indicate that Clark filed a domestic violence petition against Gravely on Oct. 9, 2007, but a family court judge did not issue a final protective order.
On Jan. 22, Kanawha Circuit Judge James C. Stucky placed Clark on two years' probation. Clark had pleaded guilty to counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, battery and domestic battery.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed charges of breaking and entering, entering without breaking, brandishing and two other counts of domestic battery.
Stucky's order noted that Clark was "not likely again to commit crime and that the public good does not require that he be fined or imprisoned," which is stock language generally included every time a circuit judge places someone on probation.
At the time, Clark was recovering from a gunshot wound he received outside of the American Legion Bar on the West Side in December 2007.
Forty minutes after Clark was shot, 20-year-old Andrew Smoot was shot and killed in his East End home. Police said two of Clark's associates killed Smoot in retaliation for his shooting.
In the past two years, other drug and gun charges against Clark were dropped, according to magistrate court records. Those charges were dropped because police officers didn't show up at Clark's hearings.
Cooper said he doesn't know why the officers missed the court hearings.