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Orange County Focus

LAGUNA NIGUEL : Man to Stand Trial in Mother's Slaying

March 23, 1994|ANNA CEKOLA

A South Orange County Municipal Court judge on Tuesday ordered a San Clemente man to stand trial on charges of suffocating his 76-year-old mother.

Clifford L. Burgess, 45, will be arraigned in Superior Court on April 4 and remains in custody on $250,000 bail. He was arrested earlier this month in connection with the Sept. 6, 1992, slaying of his mother, Mary Burgess, who died of suffocation, authorities said.

Burgess may enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity at his upcoming arraignment, his lawyer, Jack Earley, said Tuesday. Earley said his client has a history of severe depression and has been in and out of mental hospitals three times since his mother's death.

Burgess was first arrested in 1992, a few hours after his mother was found dead in her San Clemente home, but was released the next day because of a lack of evidence.

He had called police that day and told them he found his mother dead and that he tried to commit suicide by slitting his wrists after finding her body, authorities said.

In statements to police, Burgess said he had dreamed of his mother's death, but wasn't sure if he was involved, Earley said.

Evidence collected at the bloody scene and re-evaluated since the merger of the San Clemente Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Department links Burgess to the crime and resulted in his second arrest, authorities have said.

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