LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – A woman charged with aiding her friend in attempts to commit suicide, and killing the woman’s dogs, pleaded guilty during a hearing in a Logan courtroom on Monday.
Teresa Renae Clark, 38, was originally charged with three counts first-degree felony attempted aggravated murder and two counts misdemeanor aggravated cruelty to animals. During court proceedings, one count of first-degree felony attempted murder was dropped from prosecution.
On Monday, Clark accepted a plea deal and her first-degree felony counts were amended to second-degree felonies. Clark also pleaded guilty to the two counts related to killing the dogs.
Police said Clark was believed to have assisted Karma Saltern, 55, in attempts to kill herself on three different occasions in 2017, June 17, June 24 and July 6. Police said Clark stood to substantially gain financially from her friend’s death.
Records indicated on June 17, both Clark and Saltern went into a credit union where Clark was given control over all of Saltern’s assets, making her the sole heir of those assets. She was also given control over the woman’s medical, surgical, hospital and related health care.
On that same day, Clark attempted to purchase a handgun from a local pawn shop but was turned away after she failed a background check, court records state. ABC4 could not find any criminal background in the state of Utah for Clark.
Documents state police believed Clark was trying to buy the gun to give to Saltern to kill herself, documents state.
On June 24, 2017, documents state the victim took medication given to her by Clark and was found unconscious in a hotel room. Additionally, both of Saltern’s dogs were found in the hotel room deceased. Clark was the one who called 911 and said she had come to the hotel to check on her friend. Saltern was taken to the hospital where she was revived.
A search warrant revealed police found empty prescription bottles of medications for anxiety and insomnia, along with empty syringes (without needles), white powder, medications for dogs and a pill crusher in the room.
Saltern was released from the hospital on July 6. Saltern wanted her car back and some of her other personal belongings so she went to the Logan City Police Department for help. During a recorded call between them, they discussed the previous attempts and Saltern told her she wanted to make sure the next attempt was successful.
Later that day, Saltern met up with Clark to get her car back and get more medication, which was then turned over to police.
Court records indicated in September 2017, a delay was requested because their witness/victim, Karma Saltern, successfully committed suicide on September 11 in Provo. Saltern left a suicide note but the details of the note were not disclosed.
Clark’s attorney was adamant that court documents show his client was in jail when Saltern died and she had nothing to do with her suicide.
Clark faces 1-15 years to life at the Utah State Prison on each of the second-degree felony counts and up to three years for each of the aggravated animal to cruelty counts. All sentences will run concurrently to each other.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah: namiut.org
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