Murderer Receives 20 Years in Prison in 2003 Case

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472
For more information, please contact

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Mario Clark pled guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his role in the 2003 robbery and murder of Juan Contreras. Five years will be suspended.

This case has been continued nine times due to a mental evaluation that was ordered four years ago, but was never performed. Because of the delay in bringing this case to trial, witnesses critical to the State’s case, were no longer able to be located.

Guest stated, “It is preposterous and senseless that it took five years for this case to be brought to closure. Without closure there is no justice for the victim’s family.” Guest added, “We were able to fast track this case and get a mental evaluation in four months which led to a 20 year sentence.”

Guest concluded, “The only way we will be able to send a message to criminals is by both strong and swift justice. My office has placed a priority on moving old cases and we are having a great deal of success in our efforts. As District Attorney, I have a very strong commitment to making sure that justice is not delayed.”

In June 2003 the Madison County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call to a mobile home where they found the body of Juan Contreras who had been shot twice in the chest.

During the investigation, Clark was identified through photographs by eyewitnesses as one of the individuals who participated in the robbery which led to the death of Juan Contreras. He later confessed to attempting to rob Juan Contreras.

District Attorney Michael Guest took office in January 2008 and represents the Twentieth Judicial District, Madison and Rankin Counties.