Janesville man arrested in first-degree attempted reckless homicide

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Shelly Birkelo
Monday, May 5, 2014

JANESVILLE—Michael J. Clark, 28, Janesville, was nearly stabbed to death in his home Sunday night after he woke and found his roommate in a violent rage in the kitchen, police said.

Police were investigating whether the stabbing was connected to a dead body found behind a building on North Main Street on Monday morning.

Clayton Courtney, 28, of 1602 N. Pontiac Drive, was arrested on charges of attempted first-degree reckless homicide, attempted arson, criminal damage and domestic disorderly conduct, said Lt. Jim Holford of the Janesville Police Department.

He is in custody at the Rock County Jail and was expected to appear in court Tuesday.

Police learned that Courtney had said he was going to meet a woman under the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Janesville on Sunday night, and that before the stabbing Courtney had claimed he had killed three people, so they searched along the Rock River on Monday morning.

The female body which police did not identify Monday, was found during that search.

Clark,  a woman who also lives in the Pontiac Drive house and her two small children were sleeping when they woke to loud noises at 10:01 p.m. Sunday, Holford said.

While Clark went to investigate, the woman called 911.

In the kitchen, Clark found Courtney had knocked over the refrigerator and damaged other items. When Clark asked Courtney what was going on, an altercation began, and Courtney stabbed Clark multiple times in the upper back and chest, Holford said.

When police arrived, Courtney fled, but he was caught after a brief foot pursuit.

Clark was taken to Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center for treatment of his “near fatal” wounds and was reported to be going into surgery, Holford said.

Clayton also was taken to Mercy after he complained of an ankle injury, but no such injury was found, and he was taken to the Rock County Jail.

More bodies could be found, police say in news conference (11:31)

As police continued to investigate, they learned Courtney had tried to set fire to the woman's vehicle, which was parked in the home's attached garage.

“We know he was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of his arrest, but we don't know what set him off or what caused his outburst. We're still investigating that,” Holford said.

Clark is expected to survive, Holford said.

The detective bureau has been called in and will take over the investigation, he said.

“We're still trying to determine the cause of what happened before he got home to cause him to be in this frame of mind,” Holford said.

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