UPDATE | Liberty man admitted to police that he attacked elderly neighbor with hand shovel and knife
Sean M. Clemens, 33, admitted to police that he went to the home of his neighbor, Jane Larue Brown, 84, early Monday, beat her with a hand shovel from her garden, cut her neck with a knife, then loaded up electronics in her 2017 Cadillac and left.
But Clemens didn’t go far, only to the remote property behind his own house across the street on Church Hill-Hubbard Road in Liberty Township. He drove the Cadillac SUV into a wooded spot and set it on fire, police said in an affidavit unsealed Tuesday.
His actions apparently were noticed by neighbors, who called 911 at 5:55 a.m. to report hearing noises and seeing a man running with a dog. Police arrived a short time later to find the burning car and begin their investigation.
Clemens admitted to a co-worker later Monday that he thought he had killed someone. Police found Brown dead in her bed at about 6:15 a.m. The hand shovel was under her body.
Police said Brown was well-known and well-liked. She was known for her frequent walks, golfing and gardening.
A 2014 Vindicator article said Brown worked 25 years at the 20th Century restaurant on Youngstown’s North Side, first as waitress and later as manager.
“I put three girls through college by working there,” she said.
Despite all of the admissions Clemens made to police when they detained him Monday after he returned to the neighborhood, the affidavit doesn’t say directly why Clemens killed Brown.
Authorities have suggested that the motive was theft. Chris Becker, assistant county prosecutor, said after Clemens appeared in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Tuesday for an initial appearance on aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and attempted burglary that he cannot discuss the case facts.
Read much MORE in Wednesday's VINDICATOR.