|For Immediate Release
Case # 09ZF0077
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FATHER FACES TRIAL FOR TORTURING
AND MURDERING DAUGHTER AND KEEPING
BODY INSIDE RV FREEZER
SANTA ANA – A father faces trial Monday for murdering his daughter and keeping her body in a freezer in his recreational vehicle (RV). Clarence Eugene Butterfield, 57, formerly of San Clemente, is charged with 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 sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In December 2006, Butterfield is accused of murdering his 21-year-old daughter, Rebekah Butterfield. He is accused of torturing the victim and intentionally making her suffer by repeatedly shooting her in the leg, foot, knee, side of her head, and body parts that would not cause fatal injuries. He is accused of tying his naked daughter’s ankles together and hands behind her back and stuffing her in the freezer of his RV while she was still alive. Butterfield is accused of suffocating his daughter to death in the air-tight freezer.
For two years after the murder, Butterfield is accused of living in the RV with his daughter’s body in the freezer.
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 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 is also accused of shooting and stabbing his daughter in the months leading up to the murder. These crimes went unreported.
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. He was indicted on the charges Dec. 8, 2009.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.