Man Accused of Setting Woman on Fire Charged With Torture Murder

Clarence Durell Dear is accused of dousing a woman with gasoline and using a cigarette to set her on fire

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Pomona Police Department

A murder charge was filed Tuesday against a man accused of dousing a woman with gasoline and setting her on fire on Christmas Day.

Clarence Durell Dear, 51, was charged with murder in the death of the 41-year-old woman at a home in Pomona. Dear, who allegedly used a cigarette to light her on fire, also was charged with a count of cruelty to a child -- the couple's 12-year-old son.

The murder charge includes a special circumstance of torture, which makes Dear eligible for the death penalty, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Neighbors told police they saw the 41-year-old victim running from the home around 2 p.m. in the 1500 block of Cordova Street engulfed in flames before collapsing in the street. The witnesses remained with the victim, who later died at a hospital.

Dear was found near Foothill Boulevard and Halstead Street after the attack, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He was arrested after officer were tipped that he boarded a Metro bus in Altadena.

It was not immediately clear whether Dear obtained an attorney. His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday.

Prosecutors planned to request he be held with bail.

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