The Centerville killings

Brutal triple homicide shocks the small foothills community

The triple homicide committed in Centerville June 13 has gained statewide attention. The victims, all from Sacramento, were identified as Richard Jones, 17, his friend Roland Lowe, 15, and Lowe’s 46-year-old mother, Colleen Lowe. The alleged killer is 72-year-old Don Clark.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said a woman who was a neighbor of Jones’ family in Sacramento also had a house on the Centerville property where Clark had lived for the past 17 years. Jones had stayed at the woman’s house over the last few summers as a rural escape from Sacramento, Ramsey said. The three victims had driven up together in a reportedly stolen vehicle to visit the neighbor.

Ramsey said Clark had accused Jones of theft and didn’t want him on the property. Clark allegedly warned the three to stay away, then shot them, put their bodies in their car and drove to a spot on the Skyway near Hupp-Coutelenc Road in Magalia, where he doused the car with gas and set it on fire. The identities of the victims were initially unclear to law enforcement.

Jones’ mother, Felishia Moore, read of the killings and told local authorities about her son’s connection with Clark.

Though the victims are African-American and the alleged shooter is white, Ramsey said racism is not believed to be a factor in the murders. “The co-tenant said Mr. Clark had taken Roland fishing a number of times and offered to show him how to shoot a gun,” Ramsey said. “But the kid was afraid of guns.”

Clark is being held in the Butte County Jail on three counts of murder and one count of arson.