Rodney Clark, a fifty-year-old man from Jackson, Miss., is being tried in Palm Beach this week after being charged with first-degree murder in the 1987 death of Dana Fader. It will be the first death penalty case to be tried in the county since Florida got a new death penalty law in March. This is a Palm Beach murder from my true crime book, Daddy’s Little Secret:
“Detective Venetucci was not just a dedicated detective, he was also the drummer for the department’s rock band called “Night Beat” … He also became aware of how many murders might be deemed utterly senseless. Among these was the death of an attractive twenty-seven-year-old mother of three who was strangled in the backseat of her Ford Fairmont, and a seven-and-a-half-month-old who was beaten in the head with a clothes iron by her twelve-year-old brother…”
Fader was found still wearing the same dress as the night before, however, it was pulled up around her waist. A semen-stained pillowcase was found partially covering her left leg, finger imprint marks were found on her neck, and a “bite mark-like injury” was found on one of her nipples. An autopsy revealed that she’d been strangled. Fader was a seamstress and divorced mother of three.
In 2012, investigators matched Clark’s DNA to a blood and semen stain found on Fader’s dress. Clark could also not be excluded from the DNA on the pillowcase found in Fader’s car, and his palm print was matched to one taken from the right rear window. After finally being located in Jackson, Miss., Clark told detectives he lived in Palm Beach County in 1987 but denied ever knowing Fader. He also denied ever having sex with her, or being in her car. Clark was arrested for murder and extradited to Florida in 2013.