Lark found not guilty in 2016 theft case

Julian Lark II

DOVER — On Tuesday afternoon, A 27-year-old North Carolina man was found not guilty of two remaining counts in a 2016 theft case involving a now-deceased resident of the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford.

Julian Lark II, of Chadbourn, claimed he was just helping a co-worker when he endorsed two checks and collected $6,500 from a Milford bank in June 2016. He said he then gave the money to the coworker and never profited from the transaction.

Police investigators claimed the checks were stolen from an 86-old man, forged and fraudulently cashed. During Mr. Lark’s trial, two other men were described as suspects in the case.

According to Mr. Lark in testimony, he had never met the check’s owner, and believed he was assisting a coworker who lacked proper identification and was receiving proceeds from selling his car to the senior citizen.

“The verdict speaks for itself,” defense attorney Andre’ Beauregard said as the two-day Superior Court trial concluded.

When asked for comment, prosecuting Deputy Attorney General Lisa A. Barchi responded with “The Court has spoken.”

Superior Court Resident Judge William L. Witham Jr., who rendered the verdict from the bench, said the defense’s theory was “plausible, (but) perhaps not entirely believable” and the vehicle sale and check cashing arrangement “does seem a bit odd but not” completely implausible.”

On the witness stand, Mr. Lark said if he knew the checks were fraudulent “I wouldn’t have cashed them.”

The defense said Mr. Lark did not know the man whose check was cashed and it was not shown that the senior citizen involuntarily parted with the money.

Two second-degree forgery charges were dropped earlier Tuesday.

During the trial, Mr. Beauregard said his client had no contact with the VA Center, and the prosecution was ignoring other “culprits” in the case to convict Mr. Lark.

Ms. Barchi didn’t believe that Mr. Lark would be so gullible and said he “doesn’t sound like he’s stupid. He’s had some education. … A reasonable person would say ‘Hey there’s something strange going on here.”

The date of the alleged offense was listed as June 1, 2016. Mr. Lark was arrested on March 23, 2017 and indicted on May 1, 2017. Five previous trial dates were postponed – three last year and two this year. Mr. Lark was held at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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