Man Charged With Torture Murder After Lighting Mother of His 4 Children on Fire: DA

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Clarence Dear is seen in booking photos released by the Pomona Police Department on Dec. 25, 2015.

A 51-year-old Pomona man was charged Tuesday with “torture murder” after allegedly setting fire to a woman with whom he has four children.

Clarence Durell Dear was expected to be arraigned in Pomona Tuesday in connection with the Christmas Day death of the mother of his children, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Dear allegedly doused the 41-year-old victim with a flammable liquid and set fire to her. She was identified by Pomona police as 41-year-old Dawn Hensley.

It was not immediately clear if the victim and Dear were married, but a DA’s office spokeswoman said they had four children. Police had said a “domestic dispute” appeared to have occurred before Hensley was killed.

Dear was charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance of torture, and one count of cruelty to a child by endangering health of the couple’s 12-year-old son, the DA’s office stated.

The DA’s office spokeswoman would not comment on what led to the charge against Dear in connection with the son. A criminal complaint stated that Dear “did willfully cause and permit the person and health of said child to be injured, and did willfully cause and permit said child to be placed in such a situation that its person and health may be endangered.”

The incident occurred about 2 p.m. Friday in the 1500 block of Cordova Street in Pomona.

Neighbors who saw the victim running out of her home in flames came to her aid. She was taken to a hospital, where she later died.

Dear fled the scene, police said. He was arrested Sunday morning after being spotted boarding a bus in Altadena.

Prosecutors planned to ask that he be held without bail.

Dear is eligible for the death penalty, and prosecutors will determine at a later date whether to seek it.

Police initially gave the suspect’s middle name at Duwell, but the court and inmate records indicated it was Durell.