A day after Christmas, a Florida man killed a former fire chief after a family dispute. Then he said he was glad he killed him.
Now, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Escambia County Judge Coleman Robinson sentenced Jared Cordel Clakley, 31, to life in prison for the shooting death of Retired Navarre Beach Fire Cpt. Gary Diamond. Clakley pleaded no contest to second-degree murder with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In the morning hours of Dec. 26, 2020, sheriff’s deputies responded to the 400 Block of Molino Road, where Diamond was found dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds. Diamond’s family members had been together with Clakley at the residence to celebrate Christmas before the incident. However, relatives who witnessed the shooting told investigators, the 56-year-old Diamond stepped in front of the gun to save his family. In addition, they said Clakley fired four or five shots at the victim before he fled from the scene.
The cause of the domestic dispute and motive for the killing is unclear, but the defendant shared two children with Diamond’s daughter. Deputies found Clakley’s get-away vehicle crashed near Highway 95A and Molino Road. Later, Clakley was found at a relative’s home close to Holsberry Place and arrested.
“What was to be a family spending the holiday together turned tragic. It’s incredibly sad it would happen at Christmas. The fact that he was committed to public service his entire life makes it an even greater tragedy,” said Escambia County Sheriff-elect Chip Simmons, according to North Escambia.com.
While Robinson sentenced Clakley, the defendant violently turned to address the victim’s family seated in the courtroom.
"I'm glad I killed that (expletive). I'm glad I killed him," shouted Clakley, according to Pensacola News Journal.
A commotion soon ensued as bailiffs dragged the defendant away from the courtroom, while some of the victim’s family members were shaken.
After the court restored order, Robinson told the court he felt justified by the life sentence imposed on the defendant after his unremorseful outburst. He sentenced Clakley to an additional 15 years for the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Robinson ordered the sentence to be served consecutively.
Diamond served at the Navarre Beach Fire Rescue for 10 years.
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