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Clarence Butterfield Gets Life Sentence for Daughter's Torture Murder; Kept Body in Freezer

Clarence Butterfield (KCBS)

Clarence Butterfield (KCBS)
SANTA ANA, Calif. (CBS/AP) Clarence Butterfield, who was convicted of torturing and killing his 21-year-old daughter, Rebekah, and keeping her nude body in a small freezer in his RV for two years, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole.

Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno meted out the sentence. The 57-year-old former carpenter was convicted in August of one count each of felony murder and assault with a firearm. Jurors also agreed that Butterfield committed the murder with torture and mayhem.

At trial, Orange County prosecutors said Clarence Butterfield had a history of domestic violence and tortured Rebekah Butterfield repeatedly in the months and years leading to her death, including stabbing her in the thigh and shooting her in the foot.

Butterfield testified he didn't murder his daughter and found her dead at home on the day after Christmas 2006. He has said he kept her body in a freezer because he thought no one would believe he was innocent, and because he believed she would be resurrected.

He was right - the jury did not believe it.

Prosecutors said Butterfield hogtied his daughter, shot her seven times to torture her, and then stuffed her into the freezer where she suffocated.

He continued to live in the RV in Orange County until he was stopped for a traffic violation at Dana Point in September 2008 and authorities discovered he was wanted in Nevada on unrelated charges.

Prosecutors introduced evidence at trial showing the mother, Catherine Butterfield, was also tortured by Butterfield until she left him in 2004.

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  • Barry Leibowitz

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