Justice for Jason Clinard sign now

On March 2rd, 2005 Jason Clinard, 14, shot and killed Joyce Gregory, his school bus driver. Jason had been contemplating shooting himself when the bus pulled up to his stop and the door opened he shot Gregory. Gregory, 47, had reported Jason for using smokeless tobacco on the bus which got him suspended from school.

Bud Wyatt, Gregory's father, expressed sympathy for the teen, saying he realized an example had to be made of Jason, but he thought the verdict was "too rough."

Gail Wyatt, Gregory's mother, does not recall her daughter expressing fear of Jason Clinard. "The paper said he hated her, maybe he did, I don't know, but I know he had some things going on in his life that could have caused him " she hesitated then resumed, "I think he had so much going on in his life that that was like the straw that broke the camel's back. You don't just up and kill a person for not letting you dip and smoke."

Without his parents or attorney present, at the age of 14, he was asked to waive his Miranda Rights and was interrogated by policealone. Jason was charged and tried as an adult. On May 5th, 2006 in a courtroom in Dover, TN, he was found guilty and sentenced to life. He will have to serve at least 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole. Jason arrested at 14 years of age will be 66 years old when released from prison.

The Clinards served as foster parents through Centerstone Community Mental Health Center. Jasons parents had over 20 different foster kids in and out of Jasons life in just 4 years. Some of them were extremely abusive to Jason. The Clinards' contract with the state was terminated on Sept. 1, 2004, "because we were dissatisfied with their services". The company said Jason was not a factor in the termination.

At 5, Jason fell off a four-wheeler and was run over by it. At 6, he fell out of a moving car. He broke his hand four or five times, an arm two or three times, his left ring finger six or seven times. He jumped off a bunk bed at 8 and was knocked out. When he was 8 or 9, his father accidentally hit him in the head with a sledgehammer.

At the time of the shooting, Jason isolated himself from other family members, often preferring to stay in a camper in the back yard. The night before the shooting, the Clinards said their son "was fine," sleeping in a sleeping bag on the living-room floor. That morning, the teen told Dr, William Bernet that as he watched TV he thought of shooting himself with one of many guns that his father kept in the home. The gun closet was left unlocked due to a potential buyer coming by the next day. The gun closet contained about 40 guns.

According to the testimony by psychiatrist Dr. William Bernet Jason had 10 times as many stressors as any ninth-grader," factors that could have caused Jason to act irrationally. Jason had been severely depressed for some time and described "significant" episodes in which he thought about killing himself. He also heard voices no one else did. When Jason was angry he sometimes "blacked out." He told the psychiatrist, "Its like somebody else controlling my body." Bernet said Jason told him he looked down and "saw a gun in my belt. I was scared." The psychiatrist noted that Jason said he had been surprised to learn he had shot somebody.

James S. Walker, a colleague of Bernet's, wrote in a report in the court file "He does not appear to have any coping skillshe is very immature."

Please sign this petition to get Jason the help he needs. A child with a mental illness should never have had access to guns. A child with a mental illness needs treatment in an adolescent treatment center, not imprisonment. Join us in appealing to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen for commutation of Jason's sentence.

If you would like to help Jason, please email the petition author.

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Kellie MeyerBy:
Transport and infrastructureIn:
Petition target:
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen

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