Buck pleads to manslaughter in 2011 death

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 11:46 PM

A Gatlinburg man charged in a fatal stabbing at a hotel room in 2011 pleaded guilty Tuesday to voluntary manslaughter.

Clifford Buck, of 3029 Glades road, had been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Kenneth Marlon Williams.

Williams and Buck were apparently involved in a violent confrontation in a room at the Super 8 hotel on East Parkway April 26. A girl who had checked into that room with Williams called 911, and emergency responders found Williams suffering from knife wounds inside. He died hours later at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Buck showed up at the Gatlinburg Fire Department headquarters with knife wounds of his own, and was also airlifted to The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Gatlinburg police arrested him after he was released from the hospital and charged him with second-degree murder.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge as a Schedule II offender, meaning he must serve at least 35 percent of a six-year sentence before he is eligible for parole. He’s remained in the Sevier County Jail since his arrest.

During his preliminary hearing, a clerk at the hotel said she saw Buck arrive at the hotel shortly before the incident, while she was taking a smoke break. He parked across the lot from Williams’s room, she said, even though the lot was mostly empty and Williams was the only guest. The two spoke to each other as Buck went inside, but a short time later she heard a door slam and saw Buck leave the room; she said he appeared to be injured as he left.

The clerk acknowledged a 17-year-old girl had checked in with Williams, and was present at the time of the stabbing. The girl was not called to testify during the preliminary hearing, although officials said she had called 911 to get emergency responders to the room.

Police said they found a knife, cash and marijuana in the room, along with crack cocaine that it appeared someone had tried to flush down the toilet. They did not find drugs or a weapon on Buck’s vehicle.