James E. Casto – New Book Explores Sensational Crime

Folks have asked Mitch and me why we decided to write Murder On Staunton Road. The answer is multi-faceted.

I first considered writing a book about the murder of Juliet Clark thirty plus years ago, in 1987, when chatting with then Kanawha County Sheriff Danny Jones.

Danny’s parents had purchased Juliet Clark’s home following her tragic death. A young Danny learned the details when he read a faded newspaper article he found in his father’s study. It was a New York Daily News article titled, “Murder On A Rumpled Green Rug.”
“The Clark murder would make a great book,” I said to Sheriff Jones. Danny frowned and said, “Don’t go there.”

Danny, when I contacted him in 2018, was more than glad to chat about the murder and graciously provided his recollections of living in the Clark home. Danny, for those who do not know, was a four-term mayor of Charleston, skillfully guiding the city during those years.

However, after our conversation thirty years ago, I dropped the idea of a book until 2018, when Mitch Evans, who had studied criminology in college, brought up the Clark murder and his fascination with it. Seems Mitch and I were both hooked.

“Why don’t we write a book about the Clark murder?” we asked. And so we did—setting out on a journey of almost three years, creating an extremely enjoyable collaboration.

Our book is investigative journalism that reveals new information about the cold case of the August 21, 1953 unsolved murder of Juliet Staunton Clay Clark—it also focuses on the families of Staunton Road who wrote so much of Charleston’s history.

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