Man beaten in Irvine to require facial reconstruction

Times Staff Writers

An Irvine man who authorities said was severely beaten by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was semi-conscious Tuesday and is expected to require “complete facial reconstruction,” his father said.

Chris Heflin said his son Michael, 23, also had been stabbed multiple times in the groin area at an Irvine apartment complex, but he did not believe the deputy had actually attempted to castrate his son as he was initially told by a hospital staff member.

“It was more an attempt at maiming his manhood,” said Heflin, who flew to California from his home in Missouri to be at his son’s bedside in an Orange County hospital.

Law enforcement sources said Deputy Robert A. McClain, 34, allegedly attacked Michael Heflin because he suspected that he was having an affair with his wife.


Chris Heflin said his son’s face was so badly disfigured that he was hardly recognizable. “I know it’s him, but his face is just swollen so large I can hardly tell it’s him,” the father said.

He said his son had yet to regain full consciousness even though doctors had cut back on giving him sedatives and morphine for pain. Heflin said his son had been able to wiggle his fingers and toes when told to, but had yet to open his eyes or speak.

In conversations before the attack, Chris Heflin said his son had told him he had fallen for a married woman. “He said she was beautiful. I couldn’t talk him out of it, and I tried three or four times,” he said.

McClain was arrested Monday by Irvine police on suspicion of attempted murder, aggravated assault and domestic violence after officers found the injured man at the leasing office of an apartment complex.


McClain also is suspected of assaulting his wife around the same time as Michael Heflin was attacked. She drove herself to a hospital, police said.

Irvine police Lt. Rick Handfield said detectives suspect that McClain also committed a sexual assault, but declined to identify the victim.

Irvine police have declined to provide details about the assault on Michael Heflin and McClain’s wife, or discuss the nature of the victims’ relationship. McClain’s wife could not be reached for comment.

According to jail records, McClain is 6 feet 1 and weighs 216 pounds. Michael Heflin is 5 feet 11 and weighs 140 pounds, his father said.

McClain was being held in custody on $1-million bail.

The district attorney’s office is expected to file charges against him today, officials said. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said McClain is a probationary deputy at the Twin Towers jail and that he would be terminated today.