Jury trial underway for Bedford County woman accused of murdering her brother

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BEDFORD Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- A jury trial is underway in Bedford County, where a woman is accused of murdering her own brother.

Vicky Thomas Clarke (WDBJ7)

Prosecutors say Vicky Thomas Clarke shot and killed Paul Thomas back in October of 2015.

Clarke is charged with second degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of murder. She has pleaded guilty to both charges.

On Tuesday, the jury had a chance to hear arguments from both sides.

The incident unfolded early in the morning on October 1, 2015 when a series of 911 calls was made from the Clarke household on Green Mountain Road in Vinton.

In the first call, John Clarke reported his brother-in-law Paul Thomas was "tearing up" a private road outside their home with his tractor.

Deputies from the Bedford County Sheriff's Office responded. "I advised them they could obtain warrants for reckless driving on their private property and also for the property damage of the road," said Bedford Police Officer Chase Lawhorne, who was a sheriff's deputy at the time of the incident.

About an hour later, another call came in reporting that Thomas was back out on his tractor.

But, before deputies arrived on scene, dispatchers received a third call stating that Vicky Clarke had shot her brother, Paul Thomas.

He was later pronounced dead on scene by paramedics.

Clarke's defense attorney says she was only trying to protect herself. "I would ask that you all acquit Vicky Clarke of Second Degree Murder of Paul Thomas and of unlawful Use of a Firearm in the Commission of that murder," said Attorney Emily Sitzler. "This was absolutely self-defense."

But the prosecutor says Clarke acted with malice. "Malice is that state of mind that results in the intentional doing of a wrongful act with no legal excuse or justification. Malice can come from anger or hatred or revenge," explained Stacy Gardner, the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney.

Now, a jury of four women and eight men will determine Clarke's fate.