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You can't fight fate.
~ Clarence before stabbing Clyde.

Clarence James Darby is the overarching antagonist of the 2009 film Law Abiding Citizen. He is a psychopathic criminal responsible for the murders of Clyde Shelton's wife and daughter, and got away with it by pleading out for a sentence of three years in jail rather than life imprisonment or death, which was the main cause for why Clyde became a murderous vigilante in the first place.

He was portrayed by Christian Stolte.

Biography

Clarence first appeared in the beginning of the film, when he and his accomplice Rupert Ames broke into the Shelton family's home. Clarence strikes Clyde with a baseball bat, incapacitating him, and then stabs him in the stomach before handcuffing him to prevent him from escaping. Ames tried to get Darby to stop (as they were only there to rob the house and not kill anyone), but Darby silenced him.

Clyde is then forced to watch as Clarence sadistically raped and murdered his wife, then murdered Clyde's daughter, who was also watching. Though both Clarence and Ames were caught by the police, Clyde is shocked to realize that the lead prosecutor, Nick Rice (the hero of the film), has no intentions of taking Clarence Darby to trial because the evidence is insufficient (the DNA evidence is inadmissible and Clyde's testimony wouldn't be useful since he blacked out) and he doesn't want to risk lowering his high conviction rate. As such, Rice strikes a deal with Darby, who pleads guilty to murder in a very low degree in exchange for testifying against Ames. Due to the plea bargain, he spends only three years in jail while Ames is sentenced to death for the rape and murders, causing Clyde Shelton to snap.

10 years later, Ames is executed via lethal injection, but the mixture was tampered with and thus Ames died a slow, excruciatingly painful death. Evidence implicates Darby, and the police immediately head to his house.

While snorting cocaine in his house, Darby receives a phone call from an anonymous caller, who tells him that the police are coming to get him and that he faces life imprisonment should they catch him, and tells him how to escape. Following the anonymous caller's instructions, Darby goes on the run and is told to carjack a police officer who the anonymous caller claims to have subdued with a taser. Darby soon reaches the car and takes the unconscious cop's gun from his holster before holding the gun to the officer's head. Clarence forces the cop at gun point to drive him to the abandoned factories nearby.

As soon as Clarence flees the authorities, he decides to kill the cop in cold blood, despite the officer's pleas. However, he turns out to be Clyde. Clarence attempts to shoot him, only for the gun to be booby-trapped with puffer fish venom, which paralyses Clarence. Clyde explains that it does nothing to stop pain, before sadistically saying, "And you're about to experience more of that then you will ever fucking imagine." Clyde then puts a hood over Clarence's head, bringing him to a warehouse where he straps him to a table. There, Clyde explains that he is going to cut off Clarence's arms, legs, genitals, nipples, tongue, eyelids, and every other digit on Clarence's body. He also injects Darby with adrenaline to prevent him from passing out and wraps tourniquets around his limbs to prevent him from bleeding to death prematurely, as well as suspending a mirror over the table so Clarence is forced to watch his own mutilation. Right after turning a video camera on, Clyde begins slowly torturing Darby, and eventually kills him via decapitation.

The next day, Clarence's body was found by the police, who discovered him in around 25 different pieces including his severed head and limbless torso.

Despite having succeeded in getting his revenge on Darby, Clyde plans to kill more of those involved for Darby's communal sentence. He also sent in a snuff video of himself murdering Darby to Rice's house, which deeply traumatized Rice's daughter, to taunt Rice for making the deal with Darby. In the end, before Clyde's death, Rice admits that he truly does regret making the deal with Darby, stating that he's finished making deals with murderers and acknowledges Clyde for teaching him a lesson, much to Clyde's delight.

Trivia

  • Clarence is the Greater Scope Villain of the film because if he had not killed Clyde's wife and daughter, Clyde wouldn't have become a vigilante and the story wouldn't have happened.
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