California IN BRIEF : VENTURA : Death Penalty Sought in Slaying

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ventura County Dist. Atty. Michael D. Bradbury announced that he will seek the death penalty for Daniel Allan Tuffree, who allegedly shot Simi Valley Police Officer Michael F. Clark to death in August. Clark, 28, died Aug. 4 during a five-hour shootout and standoff with police at Tuffree's Simi Valley home. Tuffree's attorneys have maintained that Clark fired first and that Tuffree returned fire in self-defense. Prosecutors would not comment on the case Tuesday. But during grand jury hearings last month, prosecutors Peter D. Kossoris and Patricia M. Murphy successfully urged the panel to indict Tuffree on the capital murder charge. "It is very, very clear that Mr. Tuffree intended to kill Officer Clark," Murphy told the grand jury on Sept. 21, according to transcripts unsealed Tuesday. Murphy and Kossoris called 23 witnesses before the grand jury, which indicted Tuffree on the murder charge and one count each of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The two prosecutors contend that Tuffree, 48, harbored a longstanding grudge against the Simi Valley Police Department after several officers raided his home in 1992 and seized a semiautomatic handgun. The police had received reports that year that Tuffree had fired the gun at a passing motorist. But when ballistic tests proved inconclusive, Tuffree was not charged with a crime and the gun was later returned to him. Investigators claim that same gun was used to kill Clark.

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