Man Who Killed His Mom Is Ordered to State Hospital


A San Clemente man who contended he killed his mother so she would not be left alone when the world came to an end was ordered Friday to undergo treatment at a state psychiatric hospital, where he could spend the rest of his life.

Clifford L. Burgess, 45, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the September, 1992, suffocation of his 76-year-old mother, Mary Burgess. But the same jury determined that Burgess was insane at the time of the killing.

As a result, Orange County Superior Court Judge Eileen C. Moore ordered Burgess committed to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino for treatment until he is deemed recovered by hospital and court officials.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Carolyn Kirkwood believed Burgess was aware that killing his mother was wrong, and said he should have been found to be sane at the time of the killing.

But defense attorney Jack M. Earley argued at trial that Burgess has a history of mental illness, including depression and paranoia. Additionally, Burgess' grandfather killed himself, and as a teen-ager Burgess found the body of his brother, who apparently committed suicide, Earley said.

When Burgess became convinced the world was coming to an end, he inexplicably stashed 40 pounds of dimes under the kitchen sink before killing his mother and then slashing his own wrists, Earley said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World