UPDATE: Jury reaches verdict in Hillsdale County murder trial

Jay Clark, left, and Ashley Hoath Photo: Hillsdale County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE (Friday 10:30 a.m.) – A jury in Hillsdale County has reached a verdict in a murder trial that took a strange twist earlier this week. The jury began deliberations late Thursday afternoon and continued this morning before finding Jay Clark guilty of first-degree murder, and felony firearm.

Clark was charged with open murder in the shooting death of Jeremy Barron in Hillsdale County last winter.

Sentencing is scheduled for 8:30 AM February 5.

This story is developing and will be updated online and on 6 News.

HILLSDALE, Mich. (WLNS) — After two days of testimony, a jury at the Hillsdale County Courthouse has finally started deliberations in a murder trial.

Closing arguments were made Thursday afternoon and the case went to the jury.

42-year-old Jay Clark is charged with open murder in the death of 37-year-old Jeremy Barron.

Authorities say Clark shot and killed Barron last winter and dumped his body in a rural area of Hillsdale County.

In the spring, local kids riding horses through a wooded area made the gruesome discovery.

Clark, along with 27-year-old Ashley Hoath, were arrested and charged with open murder.

Prosecutors say Hoath witnessed the murder and helped Clark cover it up.

Hoath and Barron were in a relationship at the time of his death.

Investigators believe Clark killed Barron because he was abusive.

Hoath worked out a plea deal with prosecutors but that’s now in jeopardy.

Wednesday, she refused to give testimony against Clark even though that was part of her plea deal.

She could now be held in contempt or face her own murder trial.

Jury deliberations will continue Friday, with the jury reporting at 8:30 a.m.

Stay with 6 News and WLNS.com for updates.

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