A story in yesterday's editions about the murder conviction on Tuesday of James T. Clark Jr. in Fairfax County said that two prisoners have been sentenced to death since Virginia's new death penalty statute took effect last year. The correct number is three.

A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury yesterday convicted James T. Clark Jr., 21, of capital murder in the murder-for-hire killing of a county gas station operator last January as the man entered his Springfield home.

The verdict in the day-long trial came after about 10 minutes of deliberation, and the jury immediately went back into closed session to consider sentences of life imprisonment or the death penalty for Clark.

If the jury of six men and six women recommends death and the judge agrees. Clark will be the third person sentenced to death under the state's capital punishment law that went into effect July 1, 1977.

Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr., who read a 49 page confession by Clark into the trial record, said that the killing of George Harold Scarborough last Jan. 31 was "not only malice but malice in spades."

Horan presented the only evidence in the trial yesterday. The defense attorneys, Gary Davis and Ian Rodway, offered no evidence on behalf of Clark, who pleaded not guilty.

Clark, who was dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and tan boots, sat quietly as the verdict was read.

In the audience were the father, brother and sister of George Scarborough as well as Clark's parents.

Clark's father, James T. Sr., clinched his hands on the back of the seat in front of him as the guilty verdict was read. Clark's mother, Patricia Ann, who sat across the aisle from her husband, cried.

Mrs. Clark was arrested Monday for attempting to smuggle contraband to her son in the Fairfax County jail. She was charged with a felony and released on $1,000 bond.

During the trial, investigator Guy C. Boggess testified that Clark had confessed to him that Clark and his cousin, Charles D. Stewart, killed Scarborough for $7,000.

Boggess said the men were contacted about the murder-for-hire plot by Betty M. Holler, a friend of Stewart.

Holler contacted the men on behalf of Scarborough's estranged wife, Jamie A. Scarborough, according to court testimony.

Stewart, Holler and Scarborough all have been indicted for murder and are awaiting trial.

According to Clark' statement, which Horan read to the hushed courtroom. Clark said that he and Stewart had thought about taking the $1,200 that Holler gave them as a down payment for the killing and "ripping them off." But because of "greed," he said, the two men decided to do the killing.

On Jan. 31, the men broke into Scarborough's house at 6541 Yadkin Ct. using a technique they had seen on television, Clark said. The men taped a small triangular shape on the grass patio back door and then cut it with a glass cutter. This was done "so the glass wouldn't fall all over the place." the statement said.

While waiting about three hours for Scarborough to return home, Clark said the men ransacked the house. When Scarborough finally walked into his front door about 9:45, Stewart jumped him and tried to chloroform him and slit his throat, according to Clark's testimony.

The muscular Scarborough overpowered Stewart, so Clark said he then shot the victim four or five times.

After the killing, the statement said, the men took a half dozen steaks, $435 and a .22-caliber gun from Scarborough's house and headed for a Suitland, Md. apartment.

Enroute, Clark said he three the gun used to kill Scarborough into the Potomac River as they crossed the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. He said he also threww other items used in the crime out the window.

Once the men reached their destination, Clark said, Stewart called Holler and gave her the message, "the beast is deceased." Clark was an escapee from the Maryland House of Correction at the time of the murder, police have said.

During the hearing to determine Clark's sentencing, the defendant's parents, who are divorced, testified that they began having problems with their son after he was burned over 40 percent of his body when he was 9 years old.