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Diary helps convict man in murder of girlfriend and unborn child | Crime

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Diary helps convict man in murder of girlfriend and unborn child
Crime, News
Diary helps convict man in murder of girlfriend and unborn child

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- On Thursday, a Fulton County jury took just a few hours to convict 24 year-old Roderick Watkins of murder in the shooting death of 21 year-old Ashley Clark and their unborn child.

Watkins, of East Point, had been arrested for abusing Clark years earlier, and her family had urged her to leave him. But secretly she continued to see him, and, in the end, he killed her for her loyalty.

Among the key evidence presented at Watkins' trial was Clark's diary. And it spoke for her eloquently, like a voice from the grave, helping to convict her boyfriend two years after he killed her.

The cover of Ashley's diary came adorned with love and peace signs. She signed it with X's and Os for hugs and kisses; and she used hearts for the dots over the I's.

But inside, the words were dark and scary.



"I really can't be in a good happy mood. All because Bobo plans on making me have a miscarriage."

Bobo was Ashley's boyfriend, Roderick Watkins, the father of her unborn child. The man who would kill them both.



"All I can do is keep praying to God that he protects me and my baby."

The day after she wrote that line she was dead.

"It was like my heart was pulled out of my chest," said Alicia Clark, her mother. "A piece of me had been taken away. It's a pain that I never felt in my life."

Years before, Watkins had been arrested for beating Ashley. Her mother was the one who called the police.

"They brought her out to the ambulance that had been called," she said. "They brought him out in handcuffs. She had marks all over her body: her head, her neck, her sides, her back, her arms. He beat her with a belt."

Ashley said she would not see Watkins again. But, for whatever reason, it was a promise she could not keep.

And sadly, it cost her her life.

"I got that call from Alicia, and I didn't really hear what she was saying," said Unandi Hodges, Ashley's father. "At first, I had to call back and say 'What did you say Alicia?' And she told me. It seemed like I had lost everything."

The diary was precise and unerring in its foreboding, pointing like a compass to the tragedy that lay ahead.



"I never expect him to do anything for me but make me cry."

"I knew she always used to write a lot, but I didn't ever see the diary. But I wish she would've just came to me or us and told us what was going on."

But the diary explained that as well.



"I lie to my family just to make it seem like everything with us is all good."

"It hurt me because I didn't get a chance to see my grandbaby," said her mother. "And to know that she wanted to get out but wasn't able to… that crushed me."

Ashley's family believes that Watkins manipulated their daughter and made her feel vulnerable and alone, when in reality, she was neither. They are grateful to the Fulton County DA and the judge for putting him away for two lifetimes, plus 25-years.

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