SeMo Man Guilty of Killing Fiancee and Her 4-Year-Old Son

AUGUST 3, 2006 - Posted at 4:47 p.m. CDT

CHARLESTON, MO - A southeast Missouri man accused of beating his fiancee and her son to death is found guilty.

Ruling in a bench trial, the judge found 43-year-old Andre Clark of Charleston guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 6.

Clark waived his right for a jury trial in exchange for the state dropping or reducing charges in the June 2004 deaths of Lazan Tanette Balentine and her 4-year-old son.  It eliminated the possibility of the death penalty.

A second son, age 3 at the time, also was beaten but survived.

Clark was charged in Mississippi County, but New Madrid County Judge Fred Copeland was appointed to hear the case.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)