A 56-year-old man who used to call San Clemente home has been indicted for allegedly torturing, repeatedly shooting and suffocating to death his 21-year-old daughter, whose body he is accused of having wrapped in several layers of plastic and hidden in his RV's freezer.
She was murdered in December 2006. Her body was not discovered until October 2008, when employees at a San Clemente towing company cleaning out the RV found her corpse stuffed into the 5-foot horizontal freezer.
Clarence Eugene Butterfield may be eligible for the death penalty if convicted. The Orange County District Attorney's office statement on the indictment follows after the jump . . .
December 8, 2009
FATHER INDICTED FOR TORTURING AND MURDERING DAUGHTER AND KEEPING BODY INSIDE RV FREEZER
SANTA ANA - A father was indicted today on charges of murdering his daughter and keeping her body in a freezer in his recreational vehicle (RV). Clarence Eugene Butterfield, 56, formerly of San Clemente, has been indicted by the grand jury on one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of torture and mayhem, and one felony count of assault with a firearm. If convicted on all counts, Butterfield faces a minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. These charges make him eligible for the death penalty. He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Dec. 15, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office released a press release in April 2009 with the following information about the crime:
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In December 2006, Butterfield is accused of torturing, suffocating and murdering his daughter, 21-year-old Rebekah Butterfield, and hiding her body in the freezer of his RV. He is accused of shooting his daughter several times and murdering the victim by suffocating her. In September 2008, Butterfield was arrested on an unrelated case in Orange County for obstructing a police officer, and was sent to Nevada on an unrelated criminal warrant from that state. His RV, which was left in the alley of an acquaintance's business, was towed.
While cleaning the RV on Oct. 28, 2008, employees from AC Towing Inc. in San Clemente, discovered a corpse stuffed into the 5-foot horizontal freezer of Butterfield's RV, which was being stored on their lot. The towing company contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Responding deputies found Butterfield's daughter inside the freezer. The body was badly decomposed and wrapped in several layers of plastic.
Butterfield, who was still in custody in Las Vegas when his daughter's body was discovered, was charged Oct. 30, 2008, for the murder of Rebekah Butterfield. The defendant was brought back to Orange County April 14, 2009, to face charges.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.