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May 19, 2024

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Haywood Man May Face Prison For Involuntary Manslaughter

Austin Clonts (Photo credit: Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)

A Haywood County man may face nearly six years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the tragic death of three-month-old Camden Clonts.

The trial is underway in the Haywood County Superior Court, where 28-year-old Austin Clonts is the defendant.

On the night of November 14, 2020, Ashley Grasty, Camden’s mother, went out with friends for the first time since her son’s August 21 birth during the Covid-19 pandemic. Clonts was absent during the birth, and their relationship had soured, with Clonts relapsing into methamphetamine use.

Despite challenges, Grasty gave her son Clonts’ last name, believing in his commitment. Seeking a break, she went out, and tragedy struck. Returning home, she found a fire had started, and Camden was missing.

The fire, around 3:30 a.m., claimed Camden, who had already passed away due to methamphetamine toxicity, as revealed in the autopsy.

SBI Special Agent Brennan Regner’s testimony suggests Clonts, the sole methamphetamine user, had used the drug on the night of Camden’s death. Involuntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 59 months, but Clonts faces an additional charge as a habitual felon, potentially extending the sentence.

The trial, marked by Regner’s testimony, nears its conclusion with a verdict expected early next week.

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