Alex Williams woke up at about 6:30 a.m. Memorial Day to try to get a jump on cutting his grass before the weather got too hot.

When he looked out past his corner lot to his backyard neighbor’s house, he saw police cars.

It wasn’t anything unusual, Williams said. Over the years, the police had been called to the house of Joe Clark and Audrey Roberson for their 28-year-old son, Michael Clark.

Michael Clark had some mental health issues, neighbors said, and had only come back around to visit the Macedonia house in the last few months.

But once Williams saw multiple police cars from various communities, he knew something was wrong.

Williams soon found out that Joe Clark, 62, was dead from an apparent stabbing and Audrey Roberson, 58, was taken to a local hospital, also with stab wounds.

Authorities quickly named Michael Clark as the suspect in the stabbings and said he fled his parents’ house in his father’s white pickup truck. By 3:18 p.m., police said they had him in custody after he was located in Columbiana County.

After Williams heard that his neighbor was dead and another wounded, he quickly ran to wake up his other neighbors to tell them the news of the couple they had lived next to for nearly two decades.

Karen Harden, who lives two houses to the right, said she and other neighbors are devastated by Joe Clark’s death and Audrey’s stabbing.

“They were just good people, Joe and Audrey,” said Harden, whose son grew up and played in the cul-de-sac with Michael Clark, the son of Joe and Audrey, and an older son of Audrey’s since the boys were about 7.

The victims had not been officially identified by police as of late Monday afternoon, but neighbors confirmed the identity of the couple.

According to Summit County Fiscal Office property records, the house belongs to Joseph Clark, who purchased it in 2001.

According to police, a 911 call was placed sometime Monday morning about a stabbing. When they arrived at the house in the 8900 block of Griswold Circle in Macedonia, police found two victims in the bedroom, a 58-year-old female and a 62-year-old male. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Macedonia fire provided medical aid to the female and transported her to Summa Akron City Hospital.

Harden said authorities told her Roberson was initially in critical condition, but was stable later in the morning.

Neighbors said they were unsure of Michael Clark’s exact mental illness, but that his parents tried for many years to get him help.

“The system failed,” she said. “They tried everything to help him. Joe would say ‘No one will help us.’?”

Fears for safety

Over the years, neighbors had worried about the parents’ safety, Harden said. The couple had been concerned, too, “but there was nothing they could do because you know, you always want your son to come and see you, even though he didn’t live here.

“You never think your child is going to hurt you,” Harden said.

Williams said over the years, he would try to talk to Michael Clark as a mentor whenever he would see him.

“I’d ask him how he was doing. I said, ‘I’m here for you,’ then he’d disappear,” Williams said.

Michael Clark had told Williams that he didn’t like how he felt when he was on his medications.

Williams, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, said he’s now wondering what more he and other neighbors could have done.

Neighbors were unsure if the couple was married, but said they had lived in the house for many years. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s office had no information to release on the case, but a representative said an autopsy would be performed Tuesday on the body.

Staff writer Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or blinfisher@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ and see all her stories at www.ohio.com/betty