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Jason Clark

SALT LAKE CITY — Jason Kyle Clark is smug.

At least that's how he appears to some who loved his victim, who say his demeanor haunts them.

"Ever since we've been here, Clark has turned and given us a mean grin," said Ramona Kone, the mother of the man Clark murdered in 2007.

"I don't know how somebody could be so smug," said Jeff Kone, the victim's brother.

Even the foreman of the jury that convicted Clark, 39, can't get beyond the man's perceived self-satisfaction.

"I watched that man for six days with that same look on his face," Allie Diamond said. "He was cold and calloused. I will never forget his eyes."

Third District Judge William Barrett had little compassion for Clark Monday, ordering him to serve essentially 80 years to life in prison.

Barrett sentenced Clark for eight first-degree felony charges: 20 years to life in prison for aggravated murder; two five-years-to-life terms for two counts of attempted aggravated murder; 15 years to life for each of three counts of aggravated kidnapping; and another five-years-to-life term for aggravated robbery. He ordered Clark to serve all those terms consecutively.

Clark was also ordered to serve a concurrent five-years-to-life term for aggravated burglary. For a charge of cruelty to animals, a class B misdemeanor, he was given 180 days, but that term was suspended.

The judge ordered the man to pay restitution in an amount to be determined, but attorneys were already estimating the number would exceed $40,000.

Clark shot and killed Kevin Brent Kone, 50, and injured two women at a South Salt Lake house on April 29, 2007, in a drug deal gone wrong.

Audra Snider-Gerdin, who lived at the home, was shot seven times and badly injured. Debra Lindner was shot eight times and also seriously hurt. Both women survived. Also shot and killed was Snider-Gerdin's service dog, Chloe.

Daniel Paul Blankenship, 34, was also charged in connection with the incident. He was originally charged with murder and two counts of aggravated kidnapping, but pleaded guilty to a reduced burglary charge as part of a plea bargain. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail and three years of probation.

For the most part, Clark's sentencing hearing played out like a character attack.

"Cold-blooded," victim's advocate Heidi Nestel said of him.

"He doesn't know remorse," prosecutor Bob Stott said. "He doesn't know responsibility. The words that do apply? Narcissistic personality."

Even the judge found Clark's actions irredeemable.

"I just don't get it," Barrett said. "I don't get how somebody could kill somebody and then turn on two women who couldn't do anything."

Defense attorney Rudy Bautista said his client's expressions aren't meant to be menacing or heartless, but are the result of a nervous habit, not unlike a tic.

"He has a nervous grin," Bautista said.

Clark made a brief statement: "I'd just like to say I feel sorry for everybody who has suffered and lost in this case and I wish this had never taken place."

Kevin Kone's daughter, Samantha, made an emotional statement to the judge about how her father, who would "do anything for you," missed her high school graduation and will miss her wedding and the birth of her children. She was one of many who hoped Clark would get life in prison and said she was pleased with the judge's sentence.

"I think it was a good decision," she said.

But Scott Kone said he'd rather have seen Clark dead.

"He took a life and he should have to give his life," Scott Kone said. "(Clark) was a coward."

Diamond was joined by another juror, Amy Grant, who both said they came to the sentencing for some closure. Diamond said the case "resonated" with everyone on the jury because of the circumstances of the death. Namely, that the dispute was over $180.

That said, she said the sentencing gave her the finality she was hoping for.

"I'm ecstatic about the sentencing," she said. "(Clark) is the same age as I am and we're both going to be dead. He's not going to see the light of day."

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