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L.A. County deputy held in Irvine attack

He allegedly stabs a man he suspected of having an affair with his wife, who is hurt.

September 30, 2008|Richard Winton and Scott Glover | Times Staff Writers

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy was arrested Monday on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly beat, stabbed and may have tried to castrate a young man whom he suspected of having an affair with his wife, according to a law enforcement source and a relative of the victim.

Deputy Robert McClain, 34, is also suspected of assaulting his wife after confronting her about the alleged affair, law enforcement sources said.

Police responding to a call discovered the male victim, bleeding and unconscious, in the leasing office of an Irvine apartment complex about 7:30 a.m., said Irvine Police Lt. Rick Handfield. As detectives began to investigate, they learned that a female friend of the 23-year-old victim had driven herself to a local hospital for undisclosed injuries the same morning. Police said the woman was identified as McClain's wife.

After interviewing McClain's wife, detectives began searching for her husband, police said. When they found him, he had injuries that police suspected were sustained during the attack. Police believe the young man and McClain's wife were attacked sometime between 10:30 p.m. Sunday and 7 a.m. Monday, authorities said.

In addition to attempted murder, McClain was expected to be charged with aggravated assault and domestic violence, authorities said.

Police declined to release detailed information about the nature of the victims' injuries, beyond saying that the young man had been "cut with a sharp instrument." But one law enforcement source said the assailant had attempted to castrate the 23-year-old male, whom The Times is not identifying because of the nature of his injuries. Another law enforcement source confirmed that the victim had cuts to the area around his groin. He was listed in stable condition.

Nancy Smith said her brother, the young man's father, was told by an emergency room nurse that a castration attempt had been made.

She said the nurse warned the father that his son had been beaten so badly that "you won't recognize him."

Smith said her nephew worked as a salesman at a men's clothing store but was also an aspiring singer and songwriter.

"He is just the sweetest kid," she said.

Smith said her nephew met the woman he was allegedly involved with at the apartment complex where he lives and she works in the leasing office.

She said the young man's mother and father, who live in different states, were both flying to California on Monday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Sheriff Lee Baca on Monday immediately began proceedings to terminate the deputy. "The sheriff believes strongly that this must be acted upon," said Whitmore. McClain is still considered a probationary deputy, having been with the department a year. Until deputies have completed their probationary period, they can be terminated for any reason.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

scott.glover@latimes.com

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