Star Tribble shot her sleeping boyfriend in the back of the head and left his body on top of their mattress.
A jury found Tribble guilty Oct. 31 of first-degree murder, tampering with a witness, tampering with physical evidence, assisted tampering with evidence and false report of a crime. Immediately following her conviction, she was sentenced to life in prison.
Assistant State Attorney Kristie Ducharme told jurors evidence showed that Tribble killed Tomorreio Clark in the early morning hours of Feb. 19, 2016.
Their daughter, Damecia Stephens, came home after her shift ended at midnight, and Clark was alive. Stephens said there was no arguing between her parents and that everything appeared normal.
Stephens went to sleep shortly after getting home and was woken up by a loud boom. Minutes later, Tribble came into her bedroom, telling her to pack bags for herself and her two little brothers so all of them could leave.
Tribble, Stephens and her two little brothers all left their Winter Haven home and checked in to a hotel a few miles away.
On Saturday morning, they pick up Tribble’s friend in Cocoa and drive to the Walton County Correctional Facility in Defuniak Springs.
While stopping at a gas station, Tribble hands Stephens a bag and tells her to throw it away. Stephens later told law enforcement that while she did not look in the bag, she noticed that it was a heavy metal object about 8 inches in length.
Tribble picks up her friend, and they all check into a hotel in Walton County. The two visit their boyfriends in prison and then leave to drop Tribble’s friend off and drive back to Polk County.
They arrive at Tribble’s brother’s house in Lakeland early Sunday morning.
Tribble has her kids unpack the trunk as she tells her brother, Kenneth Stacy, that she needs help moving something. She never told him where they were going, but upon returning to her house, she pointed at the bedroom and told Stacy, “He’s in there.”
Stacy went inside to find Clark’s body and immediately confronted Tribble asking her why she didn’t call the police. She told him the police would have asked too many questions, but that she “shot him in the head” because she was sick of him jumping on her.
She asked Stacy to help her move Clark’s body, but he refused. The two drove back to Stacy’s house that evening and didn’t speak about it again.
The next morning when Stephens was getting ready to leave Stacy’s house to go to class, she told her mother she’d forgotten her book at home. Tribble handed her a key to the house and said, “He’s gone.”
Stephens found her father’s body when she got to the house, and she immediately called 911.
Ducharme told jurors that in Tribble’s first interview with law enforcement, she lied. Tribble also told Stephens and her two younger brothers they had to lie to law enforcement as well.
When Stacy was interviewed, he tried to minimize the situation. He didn’t tell detectives that Tribble asked for his help moving the body or that she confessed what she’d done.
Law enforcement knew their stories weren’t adding up, so they interviewed Stephens and Stacy again. They both came clean and told the entire story.
The defense argued that Stephens’ and Stacy’s testimonies could not be trusted because they lied to law enforcement initially.
Ducharme reminded the jurors that the reason they lied was because Tribble threatened them.
“Yes, they lied at first,” she said. “but there was a reason. They consistently gave the same story after that.”
Ducharme also told the jury that Tribble wrote a letter to Stephens before trial started, asking her to change her story and tell police she’d lied in her second interview and then destroy the letter. Ducharme asked them to combine Stephens’ and Stacy’s statements with all of the evidence, especially the ones showing Tribble was tampering with multiple witnesses, which left no reasonable double that Tribble was the one who killed Clark.
As for why Tribble killed Clark, Stephens said while she had witnessed physical violence between her parents when she was a child, she had not witnessed physical violence between the two leading up to the murder. However, in jail phone calls between Tribble and her boyfriend in the Walton Correctional Institution their conversations allude to them having discussed killing Clark in the past.
Tribble’s coworkers said he was getting out of prison a month later, and Tribble kept telling them she was going to leave Clark to be with him.