SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California man who acknowledged keeping the body of his daughter in a freezer is a "monster" and should be found guilty of first-degree murder, prosecutors said Tuesday during closing arguments at the trial.
A public defender representing Clarence Butterfield countered there wasn't enough evidence to prove the defendant shot his daughter Rebekah.
The 57-year-old carpenter is charged with murder, torture, mayhem and assault with a firearm. He could face life in prison without a chance of parole if convicted.
Prosecutors allege Butterfield hogtied his daughter and shot her seven times in the leg, foot, knee and side of her head to torture her then stuffed her into the freezer where she suffocated.
Butterfield testified that he found Rebekah dead when he returned home from running errands on the day after Christmas in 2006.
He said he put her in the freezer because he thought no one would believe he was innocent and believed she would be resurrected.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh called Butterfield "Mr. Lies A Lot" and told the jury that in 2003 Butterfield hogtied his ex-wife Catherine and put her in a closet. Another time, he put her in a bathtub, Baytieh said.
In addition, Rebekah suffered a bullet wound in May 2006, the prosecutor said.
"When Catherine was gone, it was Rebekah's turn," Baytieh said. "When I tell you there's a monster at the end of this table, there's a monster at the end of this table."
Deputy Public Defender Lisa Eyanson argued that an autopsy could not determine when Rebekah was shot or if she suffocated in the freezer because her body was badly decomposed when tow company workers found it in October 2008.
Butterfield didn't have a plan involving his daughter, Eyanson argued.
"She was shot or hurt and it was — oh my gosh, what do I do? That does not show premeditation, it shows panic," the lawyer said. "Placing the body in the freezer — that's an afterthought."
Eyanson argued that if Catherine Butterfield thought her ex-husband was such a monster, she wouldn't have left Rebekah or her son in his care.