A man who allegedly doused the mother of his four children with gasoline during a Christmas Day domestic dispute in Pomona and set her on fire was charged Tuesday with capital murder.
Clarence Durell Dear, 51, of Pomona, was ordered to be held without bail while awaiting arraignment Jan. 28 at the Pomona courthouse in connection with the Dec. 25 death of 41-year-old Dawn Hensley.
The murder count includes the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Dear, who was arrested without incident Sunday morning after officers were tipped off that he had boarded a Metro bus in Altadena.
Dear is also charged with one count of cruelty to a child involving the couple’s 12-year-old son, but authorities declined to provided details on that charge.
At 1:43 p.m. Christmas Day, officers responded to the 1500 block of Cordova Street on reports of a person who had been set on fire.
“Neighbors who saw the victim run from the residence engulfed in flames rendered assistance as she collapsed on the street and remained with her until L.A. County fire personnel arrived,” said Pomona police Sgt. Bert Sanchez.
She died shortly after being transported to a local hospital.
“Preliminary information suggests that the suspect and victim became involved in an argument that escalated to physical violence,” Sanchez said. “It appears that during a domestic dispute, the suspect chased the victim from their residence and was able to douse the victim with gasoline. The suspect then ignited the victim, possibly with a lit cigarette.”
—City News Service