Henrico man convicted of rape, murder of VCU employee sentenced to prison

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:02 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Henrico man convicted of raping and killing a VCU employee and beloved mother in her home was sentenced on Monday.

Thomas Clark was sentenced to three life sentences for the murder, rape, and abduction of 53-year-old Suzanne Fairman.

It’s a case that has been described as every woman’s worst nightmare and every family’s worst nightmare.

She was found dead in the bathtub of her Stratford Hills home in May of 2019.

(Source: Family)
(Source: Family)

The 53-year-old was expected to land in Florida on the evening of May 9, 2019, to visit her mother but never arrived.

A welfare check was done late that night where officers discovered Fairman’s body submerged underwater in her bathtub with multiple injuries.

During the trial in 2021, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing Clark had used a knife and other items to intimidate and then rape Fairman.

A medical examiner said she died from strangulation.

“It’ll be a lifetime of healing,” Suzanne’s son, Scott Fairman, said following the sentencing. “It’s difficult to put that into words because there is so much pain and so much hurt, but at the same time, I’m there for justice; I’m here to see that the system works.”

Clark, who was hired as a contractor to stain her deck, was arrested a week after the murder. He has a lengthy criminal history dating back four decades - including burglary, drug charges, and rape.

Despite the unspeakable things that happened to Suzanne, who was known as Suzie, Scott felt the need to face his mother’s killer.

“Through this whole thing, I haven’t shied away from anything that the prosecutors have told me; the police have told me. I wanted everything straightforward,” he said. “Seeing him in the courtroom was just a part of that. Just facing the person who did this to us.”

Clark was given an opportunity to speak prior to his sentencing. He said, “I know I’m not guilty of these charges, and I’ll take the right to remain silent.”

“We were told that that’s pretty standard, especially for somebody who gets three life sentences,” Scott said in response to that statement.

Scott told NBC12 that one of the most difficult things to wrap his head around is that in 2019, Clark had his ankle monitor removed just a week before his mother’s death.

“The most important part about my mother was that she was a loving, caring person, treated everybody with respect, and loved to help everybody,” Scott said. “Having her torn away from us and the world; it has impacted a lot of people.”

Scott says he feels as though justice was properly served, and Clark got everything he deserved.

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