Anchorage man arrested on murder charge in fatal July crash

casey.grove@adn.comNovember 12, 2013 

Update, 11:45 a.m.: Anchorage police say officers have arrested Andre Clinton, 29, indicted last week on charges including murder, manslaughter, assault and driving drunk.

Officers had earlier been unable to locate Clinton at his place of residence, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

"With the help of tips provided by the public, police were able to locate Clinton and take him into custody this morning," Castro said.

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Earlier story:

An Anchorage man who allegedly drove drunk in a fatal rollover this summer has been indicted on murder charges.

Police had not yet arrested Andre Clinton, 29, as of Tuesday. They say he's at large and they're asking the public to help them find him. A grand jury indicted him a week ago in the death of Marcia Mausali, 32.

The early morning crash east of downtown Anchorage on July 12 ejected both Clinton and Mausali from the Chevrolet Avalanche he was driving, according to court documents in the case. Mausali was declared dead later at a hospital, and Clinton was reportedly paralyzed. Another passenger suffered scrapes, the court documents say.

That wreck might not have happened if a police officer who encounter Clinton walking downtown about an hour before the crash had known about Clinton's bail conditions in another drunken driving case. According to the court documents, the officer noted that Clinton seemed intoxicated. If he had been drinking, it would have been a violation of Clinton's bail conditions, making him subject to arrest. But because there is currently no way for most Alaska police to access such information in the field, the officer was unaware of the conditions when he looked up Clinton in a statewide crime database, police said.

"If the question is, 'Can it be improved?' The answer, from our perspective, is yes," Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said.

According to a prosecutor's memorandum seeking strict and expensive bail for Clinton, the story of Clinton's three drunken driving cases since 2011 leading up to the fatal wreck goes like this:

In April 2011, a police officer stopped Clinton after seeing the car he was driving weave from side to side on Fifth Avenue. The officer smelled alcohol, Clinton performed poorly on field sobriety tests, and the officer found some drugs: a small bag of cocaine in the car and marijuana that Clinton had on him. Though a breath test showed the amount of alcohol in Clinton's system to be well under the legal limit to drive, further analysis of his blood tested positive for marijuana. In September 2012, Clinton was convicted of driving under the influence.

The second arrest came in March of 2013.

A man called police to report a blue Jeep Liberty was stuck in a snowbank near Pine Street and San Roberto Avenue in east Anchorage and that the driver looked drunk. The officers found Clinton outside the jeep, swaying and smelling of alcohol. Clinton had the keys in his pocket, but he claimed he had not been behind the wheel and that an unknown person called to tell him the jeep was stuck.

"(He) was unable to articulate how he got to the scene or how the vehicle got there," the court papers say.

Clinton could not stay standing long enough to complete field sobriety tests, said police, who arrested him. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.155, a little less than twice the legal limit to drive: 0.08. The case was forwarded to the municipal prosecutor's office.

In April, a judge issued an arrest warrant for Clinton, who had not completed court-ordered alcohol treatment from the 2011 case. Clinton was taken in, quickly bailed out, and was soon in handcuffs again.

In May, someone called police to report Clinton and a woman had gotten into a fight that ended with Clinton driving off. Officers went to the Rocky Mountain Court address and saw Clinton return in a white Cadillac Deville. They found about a half-ounce of marijuana and $3,000 in three separate bundles on Clinton and arrested him. Clinton bailed out again.

By July, Clinton had a revoked license and was under probation and bail conditions. He got into trouble yet again.

The third person with Clinton and Marcia Mausali the night of Marcia's death was her sister, Diana Mausali. Diana told police after the wreck that she and Marcia had been drinking beer at home when Clinton arrived and took them downtown. Another witness said they had started drinking at Bernie's Bungalow before heading elsewhere.

Clinton had three shots of Patron tequila at the Gaslight, Diana Mausali told police. Staff at the Gaslight Lounge said Clinton came in about 12:30 a.m. July 12, rode the bar's mechanical bull and got into an argument with security, who made him leave.

The sisters and Clinton walked across the street, headed to the Anchor, but they didn't make it.

About 1:15 a.m. July 12 -- an hour before the rollover that killed Mausali -- a security guard at the Anchor Pub on Fourth Avenue flagged down a police officer to report a disturbance. Other Anchor employees said Clinton had walked out of the Gaslight Lounge, crossed the street and spit on another man's shoes, the bail memorandum says.

According to Castro, the police spokeswoman, the officer did a routine check for any warrants or other restrictions Clinton might have had upon making contact with him. The officer learned Clinton's license was revoked and that if he had his license reinstated, Clinton was supposed to get an ignition-interlock device installed on his vehicle, Castro said.

"Any types of conditions of probation or conditions of release were not attached to him (in the crime database) at the time," Castro said.

So even if Clinton appeared to have been drunk, he was not driving and did not have any warrants, Castro said. As far as the officer was able to tell, Clinton was not breaking the law, the police spokeswoman said.

The Alaska Public Safety Information Network, the database for police and dispatchers investigating a person's license restrictions or active warrants, is not a reliable source for bail conditions, Castro said.

"It depends on what it's for, and that's the problem," she said.

According to the bail memorandum in the murder case, this is what happened next:

Diana Mausali said she, Clinton and her sister went to Club Elixir, more than two miles to the east on Fifth Avenue, where Clinton had two more shots of tequila, Diana Mausali told police.

Diana said she buckled up in the front passenger seat when they left in the Avalanche. She said her sister sat in the middle seat in the back with no seat belt on.

Officers got a report of a bad crash about 2:15 a.m. and found the damaged Chevy Avalanche and a debris path of vehicle parts, money and alcohol bottles strewn across the roadway near Commercial Drive and Industrial Way. Clinton lay unconscious in the westbound lanes of Commercial, and, closer to the truck, Marcia Mausali was lying on the road bleeding from her head and mouth.

Police believe Clinton had been driving 66 mph when he lost control and started to fishtail. The speed limit on that part of Commercial Drive is 40 mph.

Medics rushed Marcia Mausali to Alaska Regional Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Clinton also went to a hospital, and a sample of his blood was taken more than two hours after the crash. Tests at the state crime lab showed Clinton's blood-alcohol level to be .168, more than twice the legal limit.

While Clinton was treated for his injuries, which included paralysis from the waist down, city prosecutors dropped the March drunken driving charge against him for lack of evidence when they couldn't find eyewitnesses willing to testify, said Assistant Municipal Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin.

But because of Clinton's past contact with law enforcement and the numerous warnings not to drive drunk, he was indicted for second-degree murder, said state prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Clint Campion.

First, though, police will need to find Clinton, said Castro, the Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman.

"A warrant has been issued for his arrest and we're looking for him," Castro said. "If anyone knows where he is, please contact APD."

The police department's non-emergency line is 786-8900.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4343. Twitter updates: twitter.com/kcgrove.

 

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