Trial begins following the 2018 Port Arthur killing of Scharonn Cole

Published 10:02 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Trial began Tuesday morning in Jefferson County regarding a 2018 fatal shooting of a Port Arthur man.

Scharonn LeRoyce Cole was found dead near a nightclub in the 400 block of Fort Worth Avenue on Dec. 2, 2018. He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the back.

Two months later, Herbert Clark Jr., was arrested in Dallas and extradited to the Jefferson County jail. He was charged with murder, disorderly conduct and possession of a firearm by a felon. He has remained in the Jefferson County jail on a $50,000 bond.

On Tuesday, opening statements began in the 252nd District Court under Judge Raquel West, and Port Arthur Police Officer Chad Morrison was called as the first witness.

Clark was the first officer on scene following the shooting and described it as “chaotic.”

“As soon as I showed up, there was a large crowd,” he said. “There was a lot of people moving around. Upwards of 50-plus.”

The officer said the crowd was uncooperative and he had to yell at them to back up to preserve the crime scene. Audio from his body camera was then played for the court.

“I wasn’t sure if the shooter was still on scene,” Morrison said.

The officer recognized the victim because he had arrested him a few months before, saying Cole was on PCP and combative at the time.

Prior to Morrison’s testimony, the defense told the court that Cole was not perfect.

“He had drugs in his system,” the attorney said. “Police on the scene interacted with him before. We’re not hiding anything. Most importantly, he didn’t have a gun.”

The defense also said they do have one witness that will be put on stand at some point.

If found guilty, Clark faces up to life in prison.