‘Fatal Family Feuds: The Tragic Tale of Buzz Clinton’ on Oxygen chronicles the murder of 28-year-old Buzz Clinton in East Lyme, Connecticut, in early March 1994. The episode interviews the victim’s family members and the investigators involved in the case to provide a concise and clear view of the complex chain of events preceding and after the heinous crime. It leaves the viewers wondering about the identities of the scheming perpetrators and their current whereabouts almost three decades later.
How Did Buzz Clinton Die?
Anson Bannell “Buzz” Clinton III was born to the late DaLoyd M (née Beasley) and Anson “Buck” Clinton in East Lyme in New London County, Connecticut, on January 7, 1966. Buck described his son as “happy-go-lucky” who loved to fool around and have fun. He did wrestling and gymnastics before graduating to become a construction worker. The 24-year-old worked in various places in Boston and Washington before returning to his native town after a recession in construction in 1991. He did odd jobs to earn a living, including towing cars.
According to the show, Buzz organized a group of men who would go around and perform as exotic male dancers in local bars. He met his future wife, Kim Carpenter, at one such bar in 1992. At the time, Kim and her two-year-old daughter, Rebecca Carpenter, resided with her parents, Richard and Cynthia Carpenter, and her sister, Beth Ann Carpenter, in Ledyard. After meeting Buzz, she reportedly left her infant daughter with her parents and moved in with him in a converted tool shed behind Buzz’s parents’ residence.
Subsequently, Cynthia and Beth, a licensed attorney in Connecticut, applied to the Probate Court to remove Kim as Rebecca’s guardian, citing abandonment due to her move. Cynthia also sought immediate temporary custody of Rebecca, emphasizing Kim’s alleged failure to provide adequate care for Rebecca’s developmental needs. While initially ruling in their favor in October 1992, the Probate Court reversed the temporary order and restored guardianship and custody to Kim after she fulfilled court-ordered requirements to enhance her parenting skills.
Kim and Buzz married in January 1993 after she became pregnant with Brianna. In March 1994, Buzz, 28, lived on his parents’ property with his wife, Kim Carpenter, their newborn daughter, Brianna, and Kim’s other child, Rebecca. Hence, it was shocking when travelers on Interstate 95 stumbled upon Buzz’s body lying in the roadway of exit seventy-two, known as the Rocky Neck connector, at approximately 7:30 pm on March 10. According to his autopsy report, the victim had suffered multiple fatal gunshot wounds to his head and upper body.
Who Killed Buzz Clinton?
Cynthia and Beth persisted in legal actions against Kim and Buzz regarding Rebecca’s guardianship and visitation matters throughout 1993. The Carpenters claimed they were concerned about the child’s well-being, alleging Buzz was abusive toward Kim and her daughter. They also feared that Buzz planned on leaving Connecticut with Kim and Rebecca, thus severing all ties with the child’s maternal family. Court records showed Haiman Clein, then 51, hired Beth, then 29, as an associate in his law firm — Clein and Frasure.
By November 1993, Beth and Haiman lived together and were embroiled in an affair despite her knowing about his marital status and having four children. According to the episode, Beth was still hung up on getting her niece’s custody and asked her erstwhile employer and lover to arrange for a hit on her brother-in-law in early December 1993. Haiman initially refused but, motivated by his obsession for Beth, eventually agreed to help. He informed her about one of his clients and cocaine dealer, Mark Despres, who was willing to undertake the task.
After getting a green signal from Beth, Haiman met with Mark in his New London office, filling him up with details about how his lover’s niece was allegedly being abused, proposing that the only solution was to kill the abuser. Following further discussion, Mark agreed to undertake the murder for $8500, and Beth provided Buzz’s details and a photograph for identification. Haiman also reportedly gave a $2000 advance toward Mark’s fee. However, the plot was canceled by mid-February 1994 when Beth and Haiman’s relationship turned sour.
Though initially accepting the decision, a hysterical Beth returned to Haiman three or four weeks later with disturbing reports of Rebecca’s alleged mistreatment. She expressed a renewed desire to have Buzz killed, willing to pay for the hit herself. Haiman met with Mark the following day, instructing him to proceed with the killing. The hired assassin agreed to fulfill his request for $5500 but insisted on receiving additional money that day. Records showed both men visited the bank, where Haiman withdrew $1000 and handed it to Mark.
Feigning as a potential buyer, Mark contacted Buzz after learning that the latter wanted to sell a tow truck through a newspaper advertisement in early March 1994. He and his son, then 15, met Buzz at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant on Interstate 95 on March 10. Following a brief conversation, Buzz agreed to show the tow truck to Mark, who trailed him northbound on the interstate to exit seventy-two. Exiting, Mark signaled Buzz to pull over, leading to a confrontation on the roadside. He reportedly fired six shots at Buzz, killing him instantly.
When the police arrived at the Carpenter residence for questioning, Beth and Haiman voluntarily answered all questions. Court records showed Beth was forced to resume her relationship with Haiman for 18 more months. She eventually resigned from Clein’s law firm in January 1995 and departed for a new job in London in October 1995. Meanwhile, the authorities closed in on Haiman, and he fled Connecticut. Scotland Yard contacted the defendant, and she collaborated with British and U.S. authorities to help apprehend her former employer.
An obsessed Haiman still contacted Beth, despite his fugitive status, and she arranged for a meet while informing the authorities about his whereabouts. When he was arrested in February 1996, a furious Haiman immediately realized Beth had set him up to take the fall and revealed the plot details to the police. Meanwhile, Beth enrolled in a commercial law program at University College Dublin but dropped out and started working at a local pub to accumulate tuition funds. However, she was arrested in November 1997 and imprisoned for 19 months.
Where Are Beth Carpenter and Haiman Clein Now?
According to court records, the police had arrested Mark with the help of a confidential informant, and the hired assassin immediately divulged the names of his contractors. When Beth helped the authorities detain Haiman, he cut a plea deal with the prosecution, agreeing to testify against her. After her arrest in Ireland, Beth waived extradition and was charged with capital felony, murder as an accessory, and conspiracy to murder in June 1999. She was found guilty on all three counts in late 2001 before being sentenced to life without parole in early 2002.
Reports indicated Haiman, 82, served 22 years of his 35-year sentence for murder and conspiracy to murder, being released in late November 2018. According to his inmate records, he earned more than a decade of time off his sentence for good behavior. Meanwhile, the hired assassin, Mark, was sentenced to 45 years for his role in the murder. Beth, 60, has appealed against her sentence multiple times, but all her appeals were dismissed as of late March 2017. She is serving her sentence at the York Correctional Institution in East Lyme, Connecticut.