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Clifton Drake pleads guilty in 2019 killing

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Clifton Drake is charged with murder in the death of Dale Drake in September 2019

Almost a year after he shot and fatally injured his former stepmother in her Sherman home, Clifton Drake, 51, of Round Rock, pleaded guilty to a murder charge and a burglary charge in the 397th state district court Wednesday.

He was indicted in November on a host of charges in connection with the death of Dale Drake, 65, of Sherman. Previously published reports say that Sherman Police responded to Dale Drake's home on Anthony Drive on Sept. 14, where they found Dale Drake with multiple gunshot wounds.

Clifton Drake reportedly used a vehicle to flee the area, but returned to the scene and challenged police to catch him. Officers gave chase and ultimately apprehended him on U.S. Highway 75.

In court on Wednesday, Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said Dale Drake suffered gunshot wounds to her stomach and thigh in the attack by her former stepson. She was hospitalized following the shooting but died of her injuries on Nov. 2.

As conditions of the plea Clifton Drake entered Wednesday, he cannot appeal his sentence. Judge Brian Gary didn’t officially sentence Clifton Drake Wednesday but the plea deal calls for him to get 50 years in prison on the murder charge and two years on the burglary charge.

The sentences are set to run consecutively.

Smith said the burglary charge stemmed from a gas station that Clifton Drake stopped at while he was away from the crime scene on that awful night in November. At the station at intersection of State Highway 91 and U.S. Highway 75, Clifton Drake shot out a window and stole beer before returning to his former step mother’s home to begin the chase with law enforcement.

Clifton Drake is represented in the case by Tim Haney who said the altercation between Clifton and Dale Drake was over a longstanding disagreement about the resolution of the estate of Clifton Drake’s father, and Dale Drake’s ex-husband, Dr. William Drake, a local dentist who died in 2017 according to an obituary that ran in the Herald Democrat.

Haney said Clifton Drake has shown remorse for his former step mother's death the whole time he has been in jail awaiting trial.

Smith said Clifton Drake showed no remorse for his actions on the night that he shot Dale Drake. Smith said Clifton Drake will have to serve at least half of his sentence before he can become eligible for parole. Smith said his office had never sought the death penalty in the case even though Clifton Drake was indicted for capital murder. The maximum sentence for capital murder in the case would have been life without the possibility of parole which is why Clifton Drake took the plea Smith said. 

A sentencing hearing in the case is set for Oct. 29 at 1:30 p.m. when at least one member of Dale Drake's family is expected to deliver a victim impact statement.