By G. T. Houts
San Bernardino, CA – Frank Popovich Jr., a 55 year old Big Bear resident, was convicted by a jury of first degree murder on Monday, for shooting and murdering James Clark, 42 years old, of Big Bear.
On April 12, 2016, Popovich, a magician who owns the Black Fox Trading Co. in Big Bear, went to a local nightclub and saw the victim in the back parking lot.
According to Deputy District Attorney Larissa Ruescher, who prosecuted the case, Popovich and the victim know each other as friends and the victim had even worked in the defendant’s business.
After less than three minutes, Popovich started shoving the victim and pointing his finger in the victim’s face. The victim did nothing to defend himself and showed no signs of aggression towards the defendant.
Popovich was not visible for ten seconds and then the flash of a gun muzzle went off and the victim’s body dropped to the ground.
“In a scene that was captured on surveillance video, the defendant then walked over to the victim’s head area and slapped the victim in the head.” DDR Ruescher said. “The defendant then walked to the feet of the victim, took the cigarette from his left hand, and continued to smoke it for a full thirty seconds while standing over the victim’s body.”
Popovich faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison when sentenced next month.