SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man accused of torturing and killing his daughter acknowledged in testimony Monday that he kept the 21-year-old's bullet-riddled body in the freezer of his mobine home for two years but claimed he was not responsible for her death.
Clarence Butterfield, 57, said he found his daughter Rebekah dead when he returned home from running errands on Dec. 26, 2006, and put her in the freezer because he thought no one would believe his innocence.
"It was kind of stressful to walk in and see your daughter dead," he said. "I didn't know what to do."
Butterfield also said he hoped she would be resurrected and planned to hold on to the body for at least seven years.
The former San Clemente man is charged with murder and assault with a firearm and could face life in prison without a chance of parole if convicted.
Prosecutors contend he shot his daughter seven times with a small-caliber gun in the leg, foot, knee, the side of her head and elsewhere to torture her, then hog-tied her and stuffed her into the RV's freezer, where she suffocated.
Butterfield continued to live in the 1995 Chevrolet Tioga in Orange County until he was stopped for a traffic violation at Dana Point in September 2008 and authorities discovered that he was wanted in Nevada on unrelated charges, authorities said.
He was sent to Nevada to serve time and the RV was left in the alley of an acquaintance's business in Capistrano Beach until it was towed the next month.
Employees of a San Clemente towing company discovered the badly decomposed body wrapped in plastic inside the unplugged freezer, which was sealed with duct tape, authorities said.