Rosepine man ruled competent to stand trial in child abuse case

Published 9:34 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

A Vernon Parish man charged in what Sheriff Sam Craft called one of the worst cases of child abuse he had ever seen has been deemed mentally competent to stand trial, according to court officials.

Clayton Allen Fulks, 22, of Rosepine is scheduled for trial on Sept. 19 to face charges of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in relation to the alleged severe physical abuse of a 7-year-old girl, according to authorities. Fulks was arrested in July 2020 along with 24-year-old Dakota Wayne Singletary of Lake Charles and 31-year-old Stacy Lynn Tharpe of Rosepine.

According to Craft his office’s investigation began on July 6 when Singletary and Fulks became involved in a vehicle accident in Rosepine. Louisiana State Police Trooper Peter Smith and Rosepine Police Officer Robert Green responded to the accident and noticed Tharpe arriving to the scene soon after with her children.

According to Craft, Green was familiar with Tharpe and her children, and he noticed that one of the children was not with Tharpe. When Green asked about the child, he was told Tharpe’s mother had possession of the child, but a witness at the scene told authorities the child was still in Tharpe’s care at that time.

Both Green and Smith traveled to Tharpe’s residence where they located the child.  Craft described the girl as having “extensive bruising” with severe bruising to her face — so much so that her eyes were nearly swollen shut. Craft said the child was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where further medical evaluations found “significant and acute bruising” over the child’s entire body.  Her hair had also been cut off.

Craft said during questioning, the child told investigators Singletary and Fulks had repeatedly beaten her with their fists and choked her until she lost consciousness.

“The victim told deputies that she was tired and couldn’t take the abuse any longer,” Craft said at the time of the arrests.

On Feb. 2, 2021, Tharpe pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile and she agreed to testify truthfully against her co-defendants, according to court officials.  Singletary pleaded guilty to one count of second degree cruelty to a juvenile on May 4, 2021.

Fulks had been originally set to stand trial for his charges in October 2021, but on Oct. 13 his defense counsel filed a motion for appointment of sanity commission. His first pre-trial hearing since the judge’s decision is set for Sept. 6.

Tharpe and Singletary now await sentencing to be determined at the conclusion of Fulk’s case.